Monday, March 10, 2008

New Milestones

One of the most satisfying aspects of running is reaching a new milestone. When you're just getting started in your running, those new milestones come rapidly. Your first 5K or 10K. The first time you hit double digits, running 10 miles. Your first half marathon. If you've ever trained for a marathon, you probably remember the first time you covered 20 miles in training. And, of course, there's the satisfaction of crossing the finish line of your first marathon.

26.2.

The marathon. It's a major accomplishment. A life changing experience for some.

But like most runners who've worked their way up to the marathon distance, I've never taken a stride beyond 26.2 miles. 26.2 has been the ceiling of my running distance milestones for over seven years.

I've finally broken through the ceiling.

In each of my last two long training runs, each of the last two Saturdays, I hit 26.2 miles...and kept running. 26.6 miles a week ago, and 29 miles this past weekend.

It's been a pretty amazing experience, actually. It really wasn't all that long ago that I had no desire to venture beyond 26.2. Any thought of running beyond that distance just sounded too painful to consider. Every marathon I've ever run, whether as a standalone marathon or in an Ironman...about 10 times in total...has left me hobbling for days. For days following each of those efforts, walking down stairs was a torturous ordeal. My mind and body had no interest in finding out how much more pain may await by venturing farther.

But, then one day I fixed my mind on distances beyond 26.2 miles. Suddenly, and quite to my surprise, covering 26.2 miles doesn't seem that painful anymore. Now racing 26.2 miles, that's another beast altogether. But covering the distance at a training pace is starting to become rather ordinary. I've been surprised to discover that aside from some minor soreness in my knees, and a random ache here and there, my legs feel...well, not good, but not so bad after these marathon-plus runs.

Having nearly covered the distance in training already, 50K feels well within my reach. But, 50 miles? 62 miles? I have yet to really wrap my mind around those distances. And, 100 miles...that still feels beyond my imagination.

But, when I turn around and look back, I see that I've truly begun an adventure into new territory, and that hasn't happened in quite some time. I don't exactly know where this path leads, but I know this. When the mind believes, the body follows. Now I just need to get my mind to believe I can run 62 miles. One step at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the 29, 50k is well within you grasp, it's only another 15-20 minutes of running. Like you say 50 miles seems unfathamable, ask me in one month and I'll tell you all about it...hopefully!

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