Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Or in my case, it’s a half-marathon but you get the point.
I have spent the last couple of months training for a half-marathon run. Training for a run means I get in a lot of miles throughout the week. And for me, miles mean time to think, make lists, and process and plan.
Last week I ran nine miles without stopping. This is huge for me, the girl who before signing up for this half-marathon hadn’t gone for more than five miles at a time. We added a mile a week to our runs and ta-dah, I can run nine miles!
Okay, it’s not really like that, there’s no ta-dah. Running for that amount of time and distance doesn’t just happen. It has taken a lot of dark, early mornings, a lot of figuring out how much water is enough water without being too much water, and a lot of planning to work in runs throughout busy weeks already filled with work, school, and family.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? I feel like everyone could say to me right now, “(insert your current project here) has taken a lot of planning, sweat, stress, and time, and not every single minute has been fun.”
I was getting pretty tired halfway through my run this morning when this Robert Frost line popped into my head – “and miles to go before I sleep.” Sometimes I get frustrated when things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to. Some days I don’t want to have miles to go before I get to stop running or stop working or stop talking or stop studying. I sometimes forget that the things that take the most planning and work end up being the best. It truly isn’t as rewarding to complete a project you threw together. Anything that comes with an easy ta-dah doesn’t usually end up being worth it to me. I am not as proud or as satisfied with the things that don’t take “miles to go” before they are done, the things that you can accomplish in a sprint instead of a marathon.
I just hope that at the end of whatever marathon you are running, you get to say that “yes it has been a lot of work, and not always fun, but wow – that was worth it!” I will think back to these mornings and think that yes it was cold and dark when we started each morning, but wow, I saw more sunrises than I had ever seen before! And yes mile 7 might always be my toughest mile, but wow, I got past it every time! Those things should be the real ta-dahs!

On a side note, having miles to go before you sleep also warrants the purchase of new running shoes! This is my first pair of shoes that are actually made for running! I figured if I am running about 20 miles a week, I should probably own running shoes. Sorry Nike.

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