Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dedicated, Inspiring, and Crazy

After reading race reports from my running friends, I thought I would share a few thoughts about running and runners in general, and also link to their inspiring stories.

In varying degrees, I think long-distance runners are crazy. Myself included. (Even though I fall short of the inspiring kind of dedication that other runners seem to have.) Who LIKES to push their bodies to unfathomable distances and try to get faster and faster PR's (personal records) with every race? Who gets up early at least once a week to run for hours at a time? Who comes back after injuries and rehab and train and do it again and again? Runners do.

Why do runners do this? I'm not the expert on this, since I'm not so dedicated myself. The closest I can explain to someone why I run is... it feels good afterwards, and sometimes during as well. It doesn't just feel good physically. It does wonders for the self-esteem to know that you can push your body to run very far. For me, I also stand in awe at God creating humans who have this kind of capacity in their bodies to run so far. Even though I don't have a perfect body, I'm in awe of how much my body can do and carry me in adversity. You can't really feel bad about your body and how it looks, when you've sweated buckets and you have salt encrusted on your face and neck, and you've run for 2.5 hours. Instead, you feel good and you feel proud of what your body can do. Not what it looks like.

In many ways, running also helps me face life's other adversities. When you know you can discipline yourself for the months of training, and you push through during the race to finish, you also have the knowledge that you can face other difficult things in life. It's a confidence-builder for sure.

When I run my long runs, it's also a time for self-reflection... running is mostly a solitary sport. You're alone with yourself out there, going for a couple of hours. What else can you do but think? It's like killing two birds with one stone, solving life's problems while getting really good exercise. I also pray during my long runs sometimes. Well, now we're tackling physical, mental, and spiritual things all at once! :)

Now I'm going to link you up to my friends' blogs with their race reports. After reading their stories, you'll see why I fall short of the kind of crazy dedication that they have!

My friend Monika (the one we go to The Rock Church with sometimes) ran the full marathon in 4:49. That is a pace that I can only dream off. Yet it is 54 minutes slower than her goal time of 3:55. She got a cramp in her stomach SIX miles into the marathon and struggled and cried and prayed through the rest 20 miles! I cannot even imagine that! Even more impressive is how she dealt with her adversity and disappointment. Her race report is here. Be prepared to shed a few tears.

My friend Anne, who has been running long-distances for over 30 years, did not run this race. Instead, she volunteered at the 25.4 mile aid station, the very LAST aid station for the full marathon. She saw everyone "at their worst". Yet the account is so well-written and touched me to tears. If I had run the full marathon and saw Anne at mile 25.4, I would have cried. Here is her account.

Last but not least, my friend Cindi. I met Cindi through Anne. Cindi ran the half marathon and finished with a PR. Her race report was very observant and her experience was very similar to mine. Basically, she could have written my race report, except that my finish time was a few minutes slower than her! We both had our worst miles at Mile 12. We both hated the 163. Her fun account is here.

I had said that I wasn't going to run another half marathon any time soon. Maybe never again. But when you cross that finish line and get your medal, you forget all that. I AM going to take it easier for a few months to rest up my tired and tight legs, but I'm still going to run. I just can't seem to tear myself away from long-distance running. Mainly because the people I know who run are so inspiring in so many ways. I want to be a part of that group.


  1. I think my tear ducts are defective. I just teared up reading about you talking about my story being a tear jerker.

    I never thought about what it would be like to work the last water station. That must be amazing, scary, and hard! The RNR volunteers were so great! I hope someday I can give back during a race in thanks for everyone who has volunteered and helped me in the past!

  2. You do know that you are now permanently lumped in with us crazies, right? (Thanks for the mention in the post...made me smile, for sure.)

  3. Great post and way to go!!!

  4. How did I miss this? Thanks for the mention!

    We will have to run together sometime!

  5. Running takes more dedication than I'll ever have. You are amazing.


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