This has become my new mantra. You see, not long ago, I decided to take on crazy head first, no holds barred. My husband put me up to it, I swear.
Take a little trip with me down memory lane, if you would, and see if you can relate.
Running has always been a favorite hobby of mine. Along with swimming, it’s what I’ve done since I can remember. I started swimming when I was 6, and I started running shortly after that.
Running to me was just for fun (well, it still is, but it was different back then). I ran because it felt good, because it was good conditioning, and it was different from swimming. Swimming was a bit stressful for me, honestly. It was year round and it felt like work sometimes.
Still, when I ran, it was a couple of miles at most. As I got older, 5k’s were my thing. I thought running for more than 30 minutes was just plain crazy; I mean, who does that? Oh, if only I’d known…
When I was 14, my dad talked me into running the Peachtree 10k in Atlanta. WHOA. What? That’s like, more than 3 miles! I was pretty stubborn with training, and I only attempted 6 miles one time before the race. Still, I finished it, I survived, and that was that.
Years later, in my late 20’s, my roommate and I decided to run home from work one day. Just for “fun”. We took a bus to work, and ran home that evening. My first 10 mile run.
I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t. Looking back, it was all mental. I had never even attempted a double digit run; what was I thinking? It was pure craziness in my book. Still, it happened, and that was that.
Needless to say, I didn’t do a 10 miler again for a good long while. I didn’t want to.
Then, I met my husband. At the time when we started dating, I was more into triathlon than anything else. He, on the other hand, was not. He would run occasionally, but he was into other things like martial arts.
We found a common ground with running, and began to do that together on a regular basis. Side note: I did, however, manage to bring him over to the “dark side” and got him to do triathlons with me…but that’s another story.
After we got married, he started getting a little more serious about running. He traded in the occasional 5k or 4 miler for ½ marathons. He talked me into it, eventually, and I jumped on the bandwagon.
I started training for my first ½ marathon. Wait….I looked at the training plan and there it was….a 10 mile run. Hmmmm. I wasn’t sure what to think, but I had a few weeks before I needed to cross that bridge. I quickly put it on the back burner, and started plugging away with my mileage.
I got through the training, and the ½ marathon, in one piece. Before I knew it, I was signing up for another 13.1. Then another, and you get the picture.
Next thing you know, my husband was starting to do 26.2. I knew what was coming in my future….and it did eventually happen. As crazy as I thought he was for doing marathons, he talked me into doing one. My first thought? “What will my parents say?” My second thought? “How far are the long runs?”
I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. But, I soon realized that those days of quick little 20-30 minute runs were gone. And something else happened; I began thinking that my body NEEDED those long runs. Something changed. But, I’ll be honest, part of me was still thinking “one and done” with marathon. (How many of you just nodded in agreement; I think we’ve all been there).
When training was over, I felt robbed. I would go out and run 3-4 miles, and it wasn’t enough. If I didn’t get in more than 8 miles or so on the weekend, I felt unfulfilled.
Next thing I knew, I was searching for more marathons to do. And then, I signed up for a ½ Ironman. Then it got really crazy.
Our conversations would go like this:
Dan: “What are planning for this weekend?”
Me: “Well, I need to bike 40-45 miles and I need a long run. Maybe 12-15, I’m not sure how I’ll feel.”
Dan: “You think you’re up for that?”
Me: “Well, it’s just miles.”
And that’s exactly how it feels. They’re all just miles. I don’t mean it in a trivial way, though. I mean, maybe I can’t quite grasp the fact that going for a run after a 50+ mile bike ride is not only acceptable, but it’s also normal. Maybe I have to think of it that way so I don’t go crazy. I’m not sure.
That silly man that I married has now talked me into doing ultras….for Pete’s sake.
But, it’s easier to get out the door when I remember that it’s just miles. And I love every single one of those miles. It helps to keep it all in perspective.
They are miles. They are stepping stones toward your goal. They add up to create the best version of “you”. They help you reach your potential. Every single one of them.
It’s impossible to be afraid of failure, when “they’re just miles.”
Run Happy. Run Long.
Amy is a marathoner and triathlete, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also a marathoner and triathlete), and kids in Lewis Center.