16 March 2010

Running and Life Lessons: Part One

I follow a few RSS feeds, one of which happens to be the Runner's World daily feed.  Every once in a while a gem pops up - and yesterday was one of those days.

Mark Remy was writing about a casual run he had the other day - you know, the "everyday" 20-mile kind - that was incredibly difficult to get into.  I'll let Remy describe:
The run itself didn’t start very auspiciously, either. In short, I felt horrible. Whatever the opposite of warmed-up is, that’s how I felt. For those first few miles with the dog, I struggled. And labored. And doubted myself. Maybe I was sick? Not fully recovered from last weekend’s 20? Wait… was I dying? I had just felt a twinge in my brain. Most likely a tumor. That’s all I need. (Meantime, the dog looked great. )
But I wasn’t dying. I was just working out the kinks. 
Warren calls this run, the Long Hill Loop, his “punch-through run.” And now I know why. You just have to keep going. And punch through it. All those long, soul-sucking climbs? Punch through ‘em. Those lonely, rural miles past sleeping households and barren fields? Punch through ‘em. That final, long slog up the mile-long switchbacks on Second Street, then the twisting, mile-long descent down the other side? Punch through. Do what you’ve gotta do. 
And we did. Do what we had to do, that is. It’s amazing — after doing this for so many years, over so many miles — how easy it is to forget that one, vital truism: Things might be uncomfortable for a while. That’s OK. Punch through it. Move forward.
That line - punch through - really resonated with me.  How many times in life do things start out painfully, slowly even, only to work out in the end?

Maybe it's just because I've started to run more regularly or my tolerance has built up (thus, my endorphins take longer to kick in), but I've been having a lot of those runs lately.  They start out great, after a quarter mile they suck, and then three miles in I'm feeling good.  It's weird, I know.  But it's a regular reminder that in life, sometimes we just have to punch through.

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