Thursday, September 25, 2014

14 of the best things about running 10,000 miles

Over the past four years, my life has been transformed in many, many ways, for many reasons, but most of them can be traced back to the fact that I have become passionate about running. One device that I [almost] never run without is my trusty Garmin GPS. I took my first one, a Forerunner 305, for its first run on September 4, 2010. According to Garmin, that run didn't end until 25 hours later! (This was actually the result of my not understanding that you need to reset the thing after each run, so two days' run became one epic 12-miler).

As of today, since that first run, I've logged over 10,000 miles. Here's the Garmin report to prove it:

Technically this proves nothing, but take my word for it, I really ran that far!

So what can happen to a person over 10,000 miles? Let me count the ways.

1. You'll make some of the best friends you'll ever know, and get to know them better than you ever imagined. You can talk about a lot during a 20-mile training run — or a 6-hour drive to a race.

2. You can learn to enjoy running in the rain. I've run through more torrential downpours than I can count, and each one of them was a special moment. Sometimes, running through puddles while the rain drips down your face, you'll find that you actually run faster, with less effort than when it's dry and comfortable. Sometimes, however, you don't.

3. You can run your first 16-miler, your first 18-miler, your first 19.3-miler. Each one of this seems harder than the last one, but then, suddenly, they don't seem so bad any more, and you run farther, harder than you ever imagined possible.

4. You can run your first Marathon, a beautiful, fantastic, beast of a race, in one of the most spectacular places on earth. For Big Sur, my dad and stepmom flew down from Oregon to watch me finish, giving me one of the best memories of him before he died.

5. You can run while you are on vacation, past volcanoes and endangered species. You can find the steepest road you've ever seen and try to run up it. Then you can actually succeed at running up it.

Wow, that's some hill!

6. You can qualify for the Boston Marathon, and run the Boston Marathon, and be energized and amazed at the city of Boston and its running community, even in the midst of tragedy. 

7. You can pace runners as they complete 100-mile ultramarathons. It's amazing to see what people who are stubborn, determined, and disciplined can do. I simply cannot imagine running that far but I have immense respect for the people who do.

8. You can train through snow, slush, muck, rain, and just about any other weather condition you can imagine. And it still won't prepare you for this.

9. You can run faster than you ever imagined possible.

11. You can continue to seek out even more-epic adventures.

Pikes Peak
That's quite a mountain!
12. You can race through the middle of the night in a van with 6 other people just as crazy as you.

13. You can drink coffee after nearly every run. There is nothing more satisfying than sipping a perfect cup of coffee at 6:30 a.m. after a great run with great friends. You can get so accustomed to coffee that you stifle the urge to complain bitterly every time a race doesn't offer coffee at the finish line (Beer? Is that all you got?).

14. When you finish running 10,000 miles, you get to start on the next 10,000, which you just know will be even better!

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