That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Sunday, July 8, 2007

"Running is not fun" ~Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes is an ultra marathon runner. He ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, ending with the 2006 NYC Marathon. Pretty incredible. However, even Dean will admit that running is not fun. So don't worry folks, no one actually likes running.

Here is Dean's quote, in context, from his book, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, "To call running 'fun' would be a misuse of the word. Running can be 'enjoyable.' But in a pure sense of the word, running is not fun."

Nonetheless, it can be addicting.

While I can not say I am gleeful through my runs, I will say that I have never once regretted going on a run. You always feel better after working out.

On Saturday we had our long run. I ran my longest distance: 8 miles. And fun would not describe the experience.

We started out with a mission moment from a young girl who was in remission for cancer. She thanked us for running on behalf of the Society. She said 30 years ago, she would not be standing before us in remission. It was the support and research of the LLS that made her battle possible and relatively brief. Everyday science, research and support improves.

The beauty of the inspirational moment transitioned into a "pep talk" from our coach. He explained that running fast was not the goal. On long runs you want to run slower than your race pace because you want the actually time you spend running to reflect how long you will be running on the race day. Made sense.

So I started running in the ten minute mile pace group with a buddy. The first mile and a half up to the 102nd street turn off seemed like it took an hour. My partner and I struggled and discussed the fact that we were thinking about pain with every step. The hills on the 4 mile loop seemed to have gotten longer and steeper than the last time I had done this run.

But we kept at it. I was faking enthusiasm and optimism the whole way. I think my partner wanted to kill me. But we pushed each other. We talked about running, fundraising, weekend plans, work. You really get to know someone while running 8 miles. So we made it around the 4 mile loop for the first time, and we were both wondering, how on earth are we going to do it AGAIN?

We discussed slowing down, although that would be prolonging the pain, and decided to just keep going. I knew I could do it---I am the little runner that could after all. So we just kept going around the second loop. We were making awesome time, faster than our 10 projected 10 minute mile. So we huffed and puffed, and things started getting much better. The next 2 miles kind of breezed by. We were incredibly good partners because we both started suffering again at the same point. About 1.2 miles from the end. There were so many hills. I continued my fake cheerleading, and my partner kept our pace. I felt about 90 going up the last two hills, but I knew there was no way I could stop. In fact, I insisted we keep running across the terrace to the exact spot we started.

Once we stopped, we felt euphoric and ecstatic. For all our complaining, finished at exactly a 10 minute mile pace. My whole body felt light and fuzzy, and then cold and sweaty, but great nevertheless.

So running really is mental. I refused to let myself stop, short of my body involuntarily falling to the ground. And in the end, it made all the difference.