The Long Run.
Saturday, BB and I did our first long run in a while. Ten miles, at about 7:30am. It was warm, and so we wore our hydration packs and brought snacks – though I only took on about 100 calories during the run. We ran slowly and steadily, making the distance in about an hour and forty-seven minutes. No rush. Just a nice steady jogging pace to get the miles in.
It felt good. The time I had off during the vacation really felt necessary. Not physically, but mentally. It was nice to not run for a week and a half and get myself prepped, emotionally, for a race at the end of July. And I’m excited for my triathlon. It’s going to be a great challenge and a difficult thing to achieve. And I know I’ll be proud of myself when I’ve accomplished it.
But I am starting to look forward to the long runs. There is something gently numbing and contemplative about going out in the heat for sixteen miles, pack and shoes, and just running slowly and surely for hours at a time. Everything can melt away, and the whole world becomes foot and leg and breath and road.
The long run is satisfying because it is its own expression of self. Determination. Endurance. There is no time. There is no finish line. There is no pressure. I can just go inhabit my body, explore the sensations of the run. Especially at the end, the long run hurts. My abs, my it bands, my feet, my quads. Pain invades them all. And pain is the reason to go on.
The relationship between a runner and their pain is difficult to put to words. I have mantras about pain when I run. “Pain is not real.” “Love the pain.” But I appreciate my pain. I want it there. I don’t need running to be easy. I want it to require something from me. I want my marathon to take everything I have to give it. I want it to hurt.
When I hurt, I know I’m trying. When I’m trying, I’m not giving up. My pain is the marker that today hasn’t defeated me. I am here.