Tundra Trailblazer Steve: How many shades of grey?

Training for a marathon requires months of dedication and hard work and although it may look easy at times, it most definitely is not. For me, running has become a lifestyle and it affects a lot of my decisions; some I can control (food intake, sleep routine), but others I cannot!

Wisconsin winters in particular can make it increasingly difficult to stay motivated; we have less daylight , frequent cold to insanely cold temps and of course, flu season. For me, perseverance and creativity is key. I try my best to stick to my running routine but continue to make adjustments by trying new things in order to keep it interesting! Never be afraid to switch things up!

Sometimes, simply making my way out the door is the hardest part of my run! I prefer to complete my runs first thing in the morning, so 3:30am is my customary start time. It’s not easy leaving a nice warm bed to venture out into the freezing cold. Luckily, after many years of my alarm clock going off at the wee hours of the morning, my family has mastered the ability to complete block it out and they are seldom disturbed by me and my morning routine. These days, at most, I get a brief “ugh” from my wife as she puts her pillow over her head!

As soon as my alarm goes off I try my best to immediately get out of bed and changed into my running gear which is always set out and ready to go. Not having to search for my stuff is a major time saver! Most mornings I complete my pre-run routine (warm-up stretches) outside; however, I will opt for the living room on days when the weather is unforgiving. Regardless of how motivated I may be to start running, it is inevitable that on the insanely cold days I will end up waiting outside for my running buddy Sven, an Australian Shepard, to find the perfect spot to go potty. It is during those bitter cold moments that seconds feel like minutes as I can feel the cold riveting through my bones. These are usually the most difficult part of my run, aside from the initial getting out of bed, because I am outside, barely moving, and freezing!

Some mornings are definitely harder than others when it comes to finding motivation; those are the days that a million excuses rush through my mind and I need to remind myself that I’m stronger than the voices telling me to return to bed!

Everyone has their reasons for running, and if you read my previous blog, then you know mine! I’ve had plenty of mornings where I’ve second guessed whether I should put off running for another day. I’ve not once ever regretted going for a run, but on the rare occasion when I’ve succumbed to the temptation to stay home, there has always been regret.

There used to be mornings where my running routine would start to feel mundane and I wasn’t looking forward to my runs as much as in times past. I downloaded new music, and that momentarily helped, but new auditory jams weren’t, and still aren’t, always enough to keep me intrigued for a couple hours. When you run so early, in the dark, there is very little outside stimuli to interest you. At first it was fascinating to learn the neighbors habits; I’ve caught glimpses of my neighbors enjoying late night snacks, some stumbling home from who knows where, cars parked overnight at homes they probably shouldn’t be, and my all time favorite: someone consistently watching workout videos on their TV from the comfort of their couch! (Don’t worry Jenny, that can be our secret!)

Then, about a year ago I started listening to audiobooks while I run. I only have two rules for my audiobooks: I can only listen to them when I am running (which increases my overall mileage) and I will do a little research on the book prior to selecting it. One of my earlier book selections was chosen solely based on the title. Lets just say that it is difficult to run when you are feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable. When I told my wife about my selection mishap she agreed that best selling books aren’t always the best option for me, regardless of how many “shades of grey” they may be!

Whether you are a morning runner, an evening runner, or anywhere in-between, just get out there. Persevere. And, when it gets a little boring, don’t be afraid to try new things.

See you Saturday at the Prevea Training Run!

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