Running on a treadmill can be boring. For some it can be downright drudgery! In Minnesota, however, it can also be a life saver when cabin fever sets in around the middle of January. Beyond the value a treadmill brings to the snowbound, it can serve a really important purpose: form. The consistent pace, incline (or lack of incline), and surface conditions can create the perfect environment to practice form.
I had a great track coach in high school who first introduced me to the idea of running form. Coach Saarela, or “Sar,” would stand at the end of the hallway and shout out critiques at us as we ran back and forth as a warm up. “High knees! Butt kicks! Relax your jaw!” We ran form drills every day as a warm up, and that practice of using consciously controlled, repetitive motions to reinforce muscle memory has continued throughout my life as a runner.
Yesterday, as I ran on the treadmill at the Y, I was not bored at all. I had the honor of chatting with my bride as she worked out on the elliptical next to me. It was amazing to see my wife working out knowing that she was at death’s door just 12 weeks ago. God has performed a miracle in her body through Lorlatinib, no doubt. It was also eye-opening to think that no one in the fitness center had any clue that she has stage 4 lung cancer. At the moment she is doing very well and she does not look like a stereotypical cancer patient. (What the heck does a stereotypical cancer patient look like?) As we talked about our kids and how we are both so happy to feel the warmth of “home” again, thoughts of form were quietly in the background. Are your elbows in? Do you have quiet feet? Are your shoulders relaxed? Sar’s coaching has stuck with me.
I want to run for Kathryn and I want to run far. Maybe that is partly my own desire to “do something” that so many people feel when someone close to them is struck with a life threatening disease. It’s a natural response. I also love to run and I can’t deny my own self-interest. Let’s see where my passion for Kathryn and my passion for running take my effort to raise money for ALK research.
I’ve got my eyes on the Gateway Trail right now. Maybe I’ll run the whole thing in a turkey suit on the Saturday after Thanksgiving! From downtown St. Paul to downtown Stillwater is about 20 miles. I’ll need some good form for that kind of effort, turkey suit or not.