What I’ve learned from this season — Feeling Alive

May 21, 2007 at 5:20 am | Posted in My current training, TNT | Leave a comment

I’ve learned a lot about myself this season, and from writing this blog. I’m certain that as the days come up to the marathon I’m going to have a number of epiphanies and lessons learned about what I’ve gone through. So, I’m going to start a new category of posts – what I’ve learned from this season. I’ll start with a couple here.

The first is that long distance running, even running very s-l-o-w-l-y as I am, isn’t nearly as hard as it seems daunting before you start. The first 20 minutes is about how you’d imagine – I hate it, it feels terrible, I want to quit. Then, something interesting happens. I get into a rhythm, a pace, both physically and mentally. The breathing isn’t labored; it’s steady and even. I get into a nice stride that is easy and I repeat endlessly. And mentally, all the “I want to quit” impulses end. It doesn’t feel hard and not doable. I can go on like this for hours, literally and figuratively. This was a nice surprise.

But perhaps the biggest, most important lesson I’ve experienced has been on the longer runs, but most especially in Monterey. Like I said previously, it was a very good experience for most of the run, until the last half mile, when I ran out of steam and was sooo ready for the end. All that I said about it not feeling doable ended, and the “I want to quit” stuff came back with a vengeance. Note to self for the marathon: be wary of that milestone.

But prior to that, particularly in the second half, miles 10 or so and beyond, when things were going well, I realized something really great, that I wish I could feel every moment of every day.

It felt so good to be alive at that moment. And I was alive – pushing my body physically to limits it’s never been, feeling the energy of the moment, feeling gratitude for all the people who’ve supported me in my training, being outdoors in easily one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and snapping pictures of it endlessly- here are a few more:




Perhaps I’ve had these moments before, but in the spiral that is our lives I haven’t appreciate them as I should. I’ve been to those locations before, so it’s not just being at the coast of Monterey. I’ve done athletic things before, but never anywhere near this scale. I’ve appreciated my recovery before, but it’s never been five years out, and I’ve never had the change to almost say “cured.” In Monterey, the perfect storm of opportunity created the chance to feel the full extent of the beauty that life had to offer in that moment.

Very few experiences are like the ones I get when I run long distances, such as in Monterey. I’ve begun to feel it most times I run over an hour or so. It’s a shame everyone can’t experience the feeling of being alive like this. I know that the people in whose honor I run would have loved to have this experience. I have it for them.

We may live each day, but only on very good days do we feel alive. May we feel that way every day.




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