“Wait, why are you swimming?”

Right after TransRockies, I switched it up a little. Instead of lacing up my running shoes on my lunch hour, I tossed my shoes altogether and dipped my toes into the pool at UCSF. I decided that it would be a success if I even got into the water without running screaming back to the locker rooms. Well, it was a small success, because I did eventually get into the water and splash around for a while before heading back to the office.

Proud of myself for not drowning, I took to the Twitterverse to share the good news. Within a few minutes, I’d gotten a whole spectrum of responses: “Are you doing an Ironman?”, “Are you injured?”, “What’s next?”.

So, let’s debunk a few rumors:

Call me crazy, but in my opinion, jumping from “if there weren’t walls to grab onto occasionally in this pool I could drown out here” to signing up for an Ironman is a little hasty. Oh, and I think I’d rather eat my socks after a long run than sign up for a triathlon. (Sorry to you incredible triathletes out there, it’s just not my thing).

I’m NOT injured. Yes, I’ve been a lot more aggressive with mileage and running races (Lake Sonoma, the 52.4, and TransRockies), but by some stroke of luck I’ve stayed pretty healthy and injury free.

But injury and burn-out are a very real part of running. I’ve fallen victim to both at the most inopportune times, and usually there’s nothing we can do besides wait it out. I’ve had a lucky year, and as I look forward to the next big adventures, I know I need a little training make-over to get some balance.

Like a lot of highly dedicated runners, I don’t cross-train. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even TRY to pencil it into my schedule because I know it won’t happen. My fitness routine is all-running-all-the-time, and nothing else.

Starting to think about what I want to do with running in the future and and the big scary goals I hope to tackle, I know I need to follow in the footsteps of some of the best runners out there, and that means crosstraining… gulp.

In the last 2 weeks I’ve gone “swimming” 4 times, suffered through 3 wobbly yoga classes, and I’m signed up for boot camp twice a week starting next week. It’s time to strengthen my core, back, and improve my posture. If I am serious about running long and running for life, this is what it’ll take.

If any of you need a good laugh, feel free to join me for a swim, yoga class or bootcamp session. It’s been a humbling process figuring out just how horrible I am at pretty much everything other than running. I am confident, though, that just like when I used to huff and puff and knees would stiffen after a mile or two of running, I’ll figure it out eventually.

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