Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Friday, April 27, 2012


Life is marked by phases.  Lately, I’ve been hearing some of my friends discuss their teenagers’ college decisions and others struggle over their younger kids’ sleep issues. Some are preparing their kids (and the rest of us!) for their driving permits.  While others are already in the throes of the “empty nest” phase of their lives.  Some are heading into or fleeing a mid-life crisis that fuels one to get a tattoo or motorcycle or makes one question one’s own existence.  All phases. 

Running is like that too.  There are some definite phases that exist within the sport of running.  I read many blogs and have lots of friends who are in various stages of their running lives.  Some are celebrating their first 5K, while others are trying to beat that 5K by minutes or seconds.  Others are making the big leap into training for their first half or full marathon.  There seems to be a natural tendency for the runner to at some point explore the triathlon.  And there are those of us considering the next phase of running:  the ultra.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But I think it’s a rather normal collection of phases in the life of a runner….

It’s not that the marathon is suddenly boring or has been so perfected that it needs no more practice.  It’s not that a runner suddenly finds “extra” time during a day to double or triple the training required to participate in an Ironman or ultra race.  And it’s not always the next best thing for every runner.  Many times, we think to ourselves, “I can run a 5K, but no way could I run a [fill in distance]” I’ve thought to myself, “I’d love to try the triathlon, but there’s no way I can learn how to swim at my age – oh, and then there’s the whole bike thing…”  It’s time to stop thinking “There’s no way…”, and start thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool to try….”

So here I am, embracing a potential new running phase.  I’ve watched in awe as Scott completed a 50 miler two years ago and follow some bloggers who have already trained and completed an ultra.  I’ve downloaded a training schedule (I mean really, how does one train for a 50 miler?), trying to get my head around this new way of running.  I’m preparing once again to tackle the marathon distance only 5 weeks after running Boston, with the hope that running on fatigued legs will not break me, but instead will strengthen me.  And I have yet another marathon I’m eyeing in October to use as a training run for this 50 miler in November.

Suddenly, I’m thinking of things like “train to be slower” and “being OK with stopping” and “what can I eat that will feel good while running” and probably most importantly “how do I mentally manage a race that is likely to take me 10+ hours to complete”.  This phase of running is exciting to me, since it is so very different from what I’ve been doing for the last 12 years.  Each race usually leaves me wanting to shave off time, whereas an ultra is all about a steady pace that unabashedly embraces walking hills and stopping for a handful of M&Ms or an omelet at mile 39….

I love the challenge of something new, something that I really have to think about and plan for, and something that brings its own joy in the form of putting my heart and soul into something I’m really not sure I’m capable of succeeding at.  Until, I prove that I am.

Bring on the next phase...


  1. Speaking as someone who got up off the couch in 2008 to become a runner (really,'re going to be a runner! HA!), I can so easily relate to your post. Once we complete one distance, we think " 'bout I move up to something more"'s about discovering one's capabilities. For me, I'm stopping at the marathon, but that doesn't mean those thoughts don't still pop into my head!

    Good luck with your training....I cannot wait to read all about it and enjoy it vicariously!

    P.S. I hate that verification thingie....I am decidedly NOT a robot!

    1. I think a lot of us started later in life (definitely falls into the "better late than never" category!). I can't wait to start the actual training program, which will be so different from what I've been doing. Stay tuned....

      How's your re-entry to running going?

      P.S. I actually didn't realize I had the verification thingy turned "on", so thank you for that info. I've just adjusted that on my settings cuz I hate them!!

  2. Re-entry is slow.....but I'm about to lace 'em up and go for an easy 5.....will blog later!

    I didn't know about the robot-checker until somebody told me....seems the default position is "on". SOOOOOO annoying!

  3. Looking forward to following your training as you move into this next phase!

    1. Thanks Michelle, it should be an adventure :)

  4. I can't wait to follow you on this phase since the ultra is lingering in the back of my mind....not forcing itself forward yet but it is there. And I used to say I would never ran an ultra......