Friday, November 07, 2008

Lessons from Long Runs

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Thinking about the things I've learned from running long races. Like...

I am a lot tougher than I thought I was.
I can keep pushing when it doesn't seem possible to move another step.
Legs and feet that radiate pain can recover with just a few minutes rest.
Even when you think that IF you finish this race, you'll cut back to half marathons, because, hey, things didn't hurt like this at 13 miles, in reality, within minutes of finishing the race, you'll be contemplating the next one.
Running with friends is the best.
Friends will run with you simply for the fun of it and don't care about times or speed or placing in a race.
Running alone, even for more than five hours, is good too, and sometimes necessary for the soul.
Who knew I had almost six hours worth of thought floating around in my head?
Running on blisters is entirely possible, and in my case, often probable.
When blisters get big enough, the fluid in them sloshes while you are running.
On the rare occasion when blisters don't occur, it is a wonderful run!
A person doesn't really need toenails on their first two toes.
Toenails don't grow back when you don't take breaks from racing.
Running 26.2 miles wears a person out.
But, not so worn out that a person can't contemplate just five more miles.
And once those five more miles have been added, the next '50' goal pops up.
Turns out that's do-able too.
Then the next goal pops into the's only 12 more miles.
Chances are that's do-able too!
Confidence comes from running a marathon.
Confidence comes from knowing you can endure.
Confidence comes from knowing you are strong.
Life doesn't have to slow down as you age.
Running can start at age 36.
Marathoning can start at age 48.
There is no end in sight.
Even when a person is off on a weekend adventure and run, they can feel jealous about missing out on someone else's fabulous run.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is real.
It's important to eat and drink when running long.
It's important to eat and drink in the right quantities.
It's important to eat and drink adequately the day before the long run.
Solid food is better for some tummies than gels.
All manner of solid food will work.
Real Coke is a fine fuel.
So is chocolate soy milk.
And best of all? Starbucks Doubleshots!
Rest is imperative.
Six hours a night for weeks on end is not good rest.
Running 25 miles or more the week after a marathon or 50k is not good rest.
Miraculously, if a person takes a few days off from running, and sleeps in too, the legs are ready and willing to go long and fast before a week is out.
If a person only takes one day off the normal schedule after running a long one, the legs are not ready to go long or fast, or even slow. The legs are dead tired.
Dreams can come true.

I have more...
resilience, fortitude, strength, breath, confidence, pride, stubbornness, stupidity, silliness, stiffness, speed, endurance, friends, love, freedom, grace, dreams and power
than I ever imagined.

And that is what running long has taught me.


Journey to a Centum said...

Hey you!

We've done 29. Hows 50 sound?

Oh that's right you were talking about running!

Love ya tough girl!

Lisa B said...

Oh, great lessons! Yep! So nice to read them and put all this running stuff into perspective.

(and I also wanted to say "I completely agree" with your "Hope" post too.)


Legs and Wings said...

I suppose if a person needed some more advice they'd need to share 26.2 + miles with get the expanded version. Wow! You've learned plenty.

Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

King Arthur said...

Well said Michelle!

Juls said...

awesome post.

Thomas said...

So. You are doing a 100k then?

Makita said...

Wonderful post! :D

Mama said...

Ever the wise woman. I consider it an honor to call you friend.

robtherunner said...

Excellent lessons learned on the long run. Do you have 3 in ya? ;)

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

I HAVE to share this with some new jogger/walker friends.
How inspiring you are!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I love it. Keep going strong. You inspire me.

Darrell said...

I think you are right.

Running is my sanity, my therapy, me entertainment, my escape and yet keeps me grounded.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Sunshine said...

Delightful list!!
And with enough humor to keep it going.
Bless you.

Joe said...

Wonderfully creative, Michelle, thanks!!!

justrun said...

I really need to run with you one day...

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Well said. And yes, 12 more are doable!

RunnerMom said...

I found this post so inspiring! I started running a year and a half ago at age 36. A marathon seems out of my reach, but I've done two half-marathons and several long 13-mile runs.

I quoted this post on my blog and linked back to you if that's ok. (If it's not ok, e-mail me at You really are inspiring!

Laura H said...

Thanks Michelle - that was a nice post! Very inspiring....

Thomas said...

The family won't be travelling to Boston with me. Sadly, unless I win the lottery between now and then, this one will have to be a lonely trip.

I've more or less got some place to stay already, though it's not confirmed yet. I've got no idea where it is, but I know the same house has been used by some other blogger running the marathon in the past, so I figure it's ok.

Janice said...

I have been running for a long time, but today I found your blog and I have to say, You are truly inspiring. Thanks for the uplifting words, I really love those long runs.... Ok, most times I do.

Janice said...

P.S~ Ultra's huh? I am thinking about running a 50 miler in June. (in Utah) Any advice, 26.2 is my longest as of today.

Donald said...

These are wonderful lessons - much better than the nonsense that goes through my head. Thanks for sharing them all.

Ironayla said...

I just wanted to stop by and say hi :) and that I enjoyed your list! :)

olga said...

Very well put, Michelle. We often think, but not often write, so thanks for putting it down.
As for answers: yes...and yes:)

Sarah said...

I love it. : )

Dori said...

Great post, Michele. I can relate to quite a few of the items on your list, but not the one about contemplating distances beyond 26.2!

Sarah Elaine said...

Gret post, Michelle. I totally enjoyed that.

RunningLaur said...

I love this post.
Your lessons would be great for any runner, newbie or experienced.
Great great!