She Runs and Writes: Flexibility and Resilience

Flexible (adj)

1.  Capable of bending or being bent
2.  Easily changed, able to change or do different things
3.  Willing to change or try different things

Resilient (adj)
1.  Able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
2.  Able to return to an original shape after being pulled, stretched, bent, etc.

Welcome to March, fellow runners!  Or, as we like to call it in Georgia, "30 degrees in the morning, 75 degrees in the afternoon."  In the last 2 weeks alone, we've had rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow and a combination of all of the above.  Now, if you tend to train outdoors like I do, this can cause somewhat of an issue.  Perhaps a bit of frustration, even.  (Me?  Locked into a training schedule??  NEVER.)  

My house was one of the ones hit by the winter storm that blew through about 3 weeks ago.  As a result, we lost power for 2 days.  Add in a bunch of frozen stuff all over the roads, and let's just say that I was incredibly ill over the whole situation.  "But I have to run 4 miles today!!  But I have speed work on Thursday!!!  For the love of Pete, what am I supposed to do????"  I am not even to the halfway point in my half marathon training and I was already concerned that I was going to get thrown off entirely.  Oh, and there was that whole pesky "no power" thing, but whatever...

Since Georgia Power was up to their eyeballs in work, we found out that power to the house wasn't going to be restored until late on the 2nd day.  Unless we wanted to attempt to eat random items out of the pantry and sleep in 50 degrees, the decision was made to pack it up and head to a hotel.  I was already unhappy with the state of things.  I was going to have to pay to stay overnight in the town where I lived.  I hadn't gotten my crucial speed workout in that morning.  No one knew how the weather was going to be the following week, so there was a chance I was going to have a total repeat of that week.  It was teeth-grindingly annoying.  All I wanted to do was stick to my schedule.  Why wasn't the universe cooperating??

I started calling hotels in town to see who had availability.  When I finally spoke to someone at the hotel where we eventually went, a little light bulb went off in my head.  

"Do you guys have a gym on site?"  
"Yes ma'am, we do."  
"Does it have a treadmill?"
"It sure does."

Because here's a secret kids- you can do the same workouts on treadmills that you can on roads.  Including speed work.  I know, right?!?!?!  Off we went, and after checking in, I immediately changed into workout gear and headed downstairs.  45 minutes and an episode-and-a-half of Seinfeld later, I was done.  Mission complete.  Did my training go exactly how it normally does?  No.  Did I train?  Yes.  

Trainers and magazines and websites talk a lot about athletes' flexibility and resilience.  But they are usually referring to the athletes' physical states.  And while those things are certainly important (you're a better runner if you are both flexible and resilient), you have to remember that you've got to have those attributes in your attitude as well.  Could I have thrown in the towel and just said "Yeah, forget it.  I'm just not running today."?  Sure.  Would that have made me a better runner physically or mentally?  Nope.  Even the most seemingly perfect training for any event is going to have a bump or two in the road.  Or, the bump in the road could be during the actual event.  How will you handle that?  Will you have the fortitude to bounce back, or just stay in a wad?

I challenge you in the next coming weeks to embrace flexibility and resilience.  Both in your running and in your regular life.  Just because you get a curveball thrown at you doesn't mean you can't knock it out of the park.  

(Side note- we did end up having bad weather the following week on what what supposed to be hill intervals day.  What did I do?  Did the intervals on an elliptical in my garage.  Cranked that puppy up to 9 and it made me WISH I was running on hills!  Yowsa...)

Till next time, run on...


Dawn Garland is a native of Tampa, FL. She reads, she writes, she knits and does not believe that any college football conference can live up to the SEC. Dawn works at the University of Georgia as an analyst/consultant and her biggest accomplishment in life so far is the walking, talking sports almanac that is her eight year old son.