What I Learned From 100 Miles

On May 14, I went for a walk. I don’t know what it was about that walk, but during it, I decided I would log 100 miles this summer, with a focus on improving my running stamina as well.

Yesterday, I had 3.39 miles to go. I thought about splitting it up between yesterday and today, but after the first mile, I had made pretty good time and decided I’d just keep going. So I did, and met my 100 mile goal the day before students arrived. Here’s a couple things I learned the past 92 or so days…

1. Nothing happens overnight. When I started my quest, I could only run for 1 minute before needing to walk. Last night, I was able to run for 6 minutes at a time…for the first 2 miles…anyway, the point is, when I’ve set fitness goals in the past, I would get discouraged when I wasn’t running 6 minute miles after 2 weeks. I gave myself permission to take it slow, not overdo it, and trusted that eventually I’d get better. I should also note here that at the beginning of the summer, I needed 3-5 minutes to recover between running time. I’m down to 2 minutes now.

2. Pain is often temporary… I have a great pair of running shoes, so I did not have a single shin splint or knee or ankle pain. But occasionally my big toe would hurt. Or I’d get that side-cramp so common to runners. Or my calves would get a little tight. Guess what? If I kept moving, those little pains would eventually go away.

3. …Except when it’s not. About a month into my running goal, I started getting sick during my runs. First I thought it was because it was in the morning and I hadn’t eaten. Then it happened in the afternoon, but it was humid, so I thought that was to blame. Then again last night, during my 3rd 6-minute run, I started to get sick again. But I’ve figured out that if I start to walk at the first signs of sickness, I get over it faster and last longer. The upshot? I have to listen to my body, and listen good.

4. If you don’t feel like going for a run, go anyway. There were many days that I just did not feel like going out at all. Didn’t want to get sweaty, didn’t want to stop watching whatever was on the idiot box, didn’t want to risk pain and panting. So I’d make deals with myself: I’d go just one mile. Or just 15 minutes. And most of the time, I would hit the pre-arranged benchmark and just keep going. But occasionally, I’d just let myself stop after the mile or whatever, and let it go.

5. I can do anything. I really thought I would quit around mile 40 or 50. I’m still surprised I didn’t. I’ve never been athletically inclined, so I knew I could be a little happy with 40 or 50 miles. But now that I’ve hit 100, I have more goals.

And that’s a post for another day.

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