Two years ago I was a new runner. I was struggling to run more than three miles and honestly never thought there was a good reason to ever run more than that. Unless of course I was being chased by a wild animal. Then something inside me clicked and when a distance challenge presented itself my type A, competitive personality latched on. And once I knew my body could run more than three miles… heck, more than 10 miles… a barrier that had previously intimidated me was broken.
I distinctly remember telling a friend of mine that fall of 2009 that running a race of 9+ miles was the silliest thing I’d ever heard. It didn’t sound fun at all. Then in the fall of 2010 I was running that race of 9+ miles. And a few months later I started training to run much, much farther.
During my marathon training I had days where I would flash back to my previous self and think it was indeed silly to run more than three miles. Yet on I pushed. I was running four times a week and my body was in a perpetual state of soreness or tightness or both.
And here’s the crazy thing – the whole point of this post – I liked it.
Now I’m training again for that silly 9+ mile race. I haven’t run more than three-five miles since marathon month so the past few weeks have been pushing my legs and feet and lungs. Every step I took yesterday had a distinct feel to it – the feel of legs that are being asked to do something beyond their initial comfort level. And last night as I was stretching and, I’ll admit it, wincing a bit I realized… I had missed this feeling. The tightness, the awareness of my leg muscles, the unusually sharp pangs of hunger on my long run days. It’s crazy.
2009: told a friend she was insane to want to run a race that was 9+ miles
2010: ran that race on a sprained ankle and loved it
2011: training for that same race and will have three training runs at or beyond the distance
The moral of my story: when you run more than three miles, your body starts to like the pain.
Moral #2: runners are a little insane in the brain