>> Monday, September 13, 2010
I felt inspired to write Saturday after my morning 10-miler. Last week, my training exceeded 50 miles. The most miles I've ever run in a single week. Ever. I'm psyched about this. Not only because it's a huge accomplishment . . . but also because I'm feeling strong and injury-free -- a good indication that I've been training appropriately.
I didn't take my watch with me Saturday . . . just wanted to maintain a steady pace, strong effort. With each mile, I climbed closer to my goal of 50+ weekly miles. Around mile 6, I ran past this girl. Now, I'm the kind of runner who always nods and says hi to other runners/walkers/cyclists/etc. I see.
So, I nodded.
This girl just looked at me out of the EXTREME corner of her eyes. Did a disapproving up-and-down glance . . . and -- I kid you not -- turned her head away and lifted her nose into the air. Uhhh. What was THAT about? Of course, I'm not exactly a glamazon runner. In fact, I was wearing a mishmash of clothes: Baggy t-shirt, older shorts, my blood-stained running shoes. I wasn't going particularly fast either. Whether or not this girl's attitude toward me was intentional, it left me feeling funky. Judged, even.
As I have grown into my identity as a runner, I feel like I have learned a ton about myself and my physical and mental abilities. Through all this self-discovery, I have also learned to be more understanding and in-tune with others. I have become aware of the unique strengths and weaknesses we all have. I learned to appreciate what athletes (and people) contribute toward running (and life). (Yeah, we're getting deep here.)
What I've learned is that my value as a runner isn't measured in the weekly distances I run or the race times I achieve. It isn't gained through progressively getting faster from year to year. The flashy tech-fabric clothing I wear doesn't make me a better runner. Nor does the gear (watches, heart-rate monitors, mystical training bracelets, finger shoes, etc.) I strap to myself. My identity as a runner doesn't hinge on the number of races I run or the age division places I attain. If I don't make each and every workout a hard and fast workout (and I shouldn't -- more on that in another post), I'm no less of a runner. If I don't track my times or distances, I'm no less of a runner. And if I don't chug coconut water after each run or fuel with chia seeds and bowls of designer oatmeal . . . I'm certainly no less of a runner.
Running isn't merely a sport to me. It isn't "cardio" or a simple way to burn calories. It's a lifestyle -- a way of being. My value as a runner exists in my desire to live a healthy life. To honor and care for my body and mind. It's in my desire to inspire others to live life healthfully. Through my own experiences -- motivation issues, injuries, successes, etc. -- I have learned so much about the range of human ability. About emotion and dedication. About pride and humility. I can better understand the different motivations and goals of others, too. I have learned that when I pass another person along my path, I should not judge. I know not of his or her specific history with running . . . nor of his or her life situation upon first glance.
So, through running, I've learned to strive to make each of the zones I inhabit no judgment zones. And the most satisfying lesson: Individual worth isn't attained only from within. It's in how we treat others. At least with athletics, the most gratifying experience is sharing in the successes and relating to the setbacks of others. I realize this rambling post is somewhat random. And that seemingly judgmental girl may have been having a bad day. Regardless, it got me thinking.
On a happier note, around mile 9 of that same run, I jogged past a car wash being sponsored by a local girl's X-country team. Their coach cheered for me -- even called out "great pace!!!" as I made my way past their area. That's the kind of spirit I like to see. That's the kind of spirit I, myself, try to exude in everything I do.
That was all on Saturday. Sunday, we each ran our last long run of our marathon training plan. I rocked 20.2 in 3:03:58 (9:06 pace). Stephen killed 23 miles in an impressive 2:48:09 (7:18 pace). We both ran the same route, give or take a few roads. I planned the whole thing . . . though, I didn't realize it was far from a flat course.
Here we are after it was all over. Phew!
After that, our friends Lindsey and John visited for the afternoon. Stephen picked up a kit in the spring (from this cool brewing store in Bethlehem, PA, around the same time we ran the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon) that makes a copy of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. The boys (or should I say brewmasters?) wasted no time getting to work.
The fruit of their labor should be sip-able by mid-October.
Lindsey and I sat on the sidelines. Ate half-moon cookies (we both like the white frosting best). Drank virgin Moscow Mules. Played some Mario Party. And took a nice 2 mile walk through my neighborhood.
Lindsey is definitely the cutest preggers lady I know :)
And I almost forgot: Saturday, our pre-run meal was pizza. I mean, did you think we'd dine on anything else? We rounded up some of the best slices this area has to offer. My favorite plain . . . and our beloved grilled selection.
Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!