I can’t think of a time in Cleveland’s history when we’ve had weather that was worse than the weather that we’ve had so far in 2014. I thought that I had it rough last year when one run outside every week was all that I could do in the midst of the bad weather that we had during the first three months of the year, but I’d gladly take that now because I still haven’t run once outside in 2014.

Last year, I didn’t get too frustrated about this because I knew that I’d rack up plenty of miles during half marathon and marathon training and I wasn’t sure if my body would be able to take a full 12 months of running regularly. As I look back, I can tell that my body began to wear down a bit after the Towpath Half Marathon in November, so I am taking the same positive approach to my inability to run outside this year.

I knew that the first half of January would be rough workout-wise because we had to pack up our house. Of course, the heavy snowfall and single-digit temperatures precluded any sort of outdoor workout, so I didn’t get too frustrated. I did manage to sneak in a great run at the indoor track at one of the schools at which I work on the last Friday before we moved, but that was the only run that I had during the first half of the month.

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Thank God for indoor tracks! Love running on here…

One of the best attributes about our new neighborhood is that there are three gyms within a one-mile radius of our home, and I was excited about joining a gym so that I could work out inside during the cold months and work in some cross-training as well. I didn’t cross-train at all during my training for the Northern Ohio Marathon, and I think that’s why my muscles crashed and burned during the final 6.2 of the race.

I was hopeful that the local rec center would be a good (and free!) substitute for joining a regular gym, and I squeezed in a few workouts throughout January on their indoor track.

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Cleveland’s great Gunning Recreation Center!

Unfortunately, I found that the weight room was often crowded and the indoor track—which was only 1\16 of a mile long—wasn’t good for long distance running. As the facility only had one StairMaster, Sheila couldn’t really get in a good cardio workout either. However, I am glad that I had the opportunity to work out there for a few weeks because doing so helped me discover that I really missed lifting weights!

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I was grateful to find out that my strength quickly came back after not lifting weights for almost 10 years!

I’ll never forget learning how to lift weights with my buddy Rob during my sophomore year of college. Rob was a few years ahead of me at Case. The guy still looks like Vin Diesel and girls used to flirt with him in droves. To this day, I’m not sure why he took a nerdy freshman under his wing, but he did, and I’m grateful that he helped me grow in my faith and helped me learn how to navigate my way around the weight room without getting hurt. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great picture of just the two us together (who remembers the era before camera phones?) so I’ll throw up a picture from our wedding in which he served as a groomsman. He’s the guy second from the left in the back (and the groomsman next to him is my brother, who just turned 19 yesterday. Where does the time go?)

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We eventually checked out our local branch of Fitness19 and absolutely loved it. Past financial difficulties have made me a bit cheap, and I began to wonder if this was a good use of our money as we were in the midst of signing the contract. Fortunately, the past few weeks’ worth of workouts have erased all doubt in my mind about whether joining Fitness19 was a good move. Sheila and I do cardio together three days per week and I lift weights on other days. My goal is to work out six days per week with one rest day—3 days of cardio alternating with 3 days of cross-training.

Once we joined Fitness19, both the frequency and quality of my workouts increased significantly. I ended January on a very positive note and I know that February will be an excellent month! Although I am frustrated that I haven’t been able to get in any outdoor runs so far in 2014, I am grateful that I have found an affordable venue in which I can do cross-training!

How is your training going?