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The Beauty of Long Distance Running (And I’m Very Tired Today!)

Posted Aug 11 2008 9:14pm

This week has been a week of little sleep.

My mom came to town for a visit, which was great, but it really excited my oldest daughter. At four, she is this bundle of energy that keeps going and going and going. Seriously, I have never met another child with that much energy, and I taught school for ten years!

I laugh because she will be a runner like me. She has to be, or she will jump out of her skin.

My mom says I was the same when I was a young girl! So she does get it honestly, as they say.

Anyway, we have been busy visiting, and my youngest kept getting up around 6 or so because she was too excited about grandma being here to sleep. I continued on my workout routine for the most part, but I skipped the tri training day at the gym. Too much time away from my mom on her last day here. Instead I did a 4.25 run, which was great in itself. I missed swimming though.

I bought a kettlebell and I love the thing! I worked my abs and arms today and used it for a variety of exercises and it worked well.

The day before yesterday I purchased my materials for the ACSM training! I need to get CPR certified and will probably do this before we leave Los Angeles. Then I’ll just have to get the testing done when we get moved.

For now, though, I’m beat, and I had a big old Starbucks coffee on the way to drop my mom at the airport this morning so sleep will never come. I knew better, but I was so tired at that point-just four and a half hours of sleep yesterday because my youngest was up all night - that I couldn’t resist. I had to get to the airport after all!

Maybe I”ll try to rest a while. I’m reading this great book Breaking Trails: A Climbing Life about a woman named Arlene Blum. These types of stories always amaze me, those about climbing mountains in the freezing cold and dodging avalanches as people around you die while trying to summit.

What a crazy life!

Last night I couldn’t put the book down. I realized as I read that I love this lady because she is much like me, and like most athletes - no, all athletes - I know. Testing physical limits. Proving yourself, to yourself. I run long distances not to show everyone else I can do it, but because I want to prove to myself that I can. That is the mentality of a long distance runner, I believe. We do it so we know we can do it, and then we think, “I can do even more.”

When I crossed that finish line at my first marathon one thought went through my head. “I can do anything.” If I can run 26.2 miles through a torrential Southern California downpour, I can do anything.

I know Arlene felt this way as she climbed these peaks, her feet freezing, her hands like ice. It’s somewhat like running those long twenty milers. Your feet are sore, maybe the knee pings a bit, you’re hungry and tired but you are alive. How else can I say this? You are alive when you are running twenty milers.

Do we need to feel pain to feel alive? I don’t think so. Running distances is not about pain. You shouldn’t be in pain and it shouldn’t be torture or you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

Still, there is some gratification I feel when I get home, completely spent. I have pushed myself to the limits and I have survived.

I can do ANYTHING.

And that is what keeps me going, even when I don’t get more than four and a half hours of sleep!

Have a great running weekend, friends. I’m doing 11 tomorrow, possibly twelve.

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