First off, my sincere apology for entirely neglecting my blog this summer. While I had originally planned on this summer to be some what of a drag and very boring, it has been anything other than. I hope this post is the beginning of many more in the near future.
I am currently running between 70 and 80 miles per week and am running 6 of those 7 days. This brings me to an average workout distance of 12-13 miles. I'm reaching a level of fitness that I have never experienced before. Yesterday was my day off and so I decided to go with my dad on a longer bike ride. We rode over 30 miles. It was in the later part of the ride that something clicked in me. Something that I had never really taken the time to define. That is, what makes a competitive distance runner different from most people and yet very similar to athletes of many sports. As my father and I reached mile 25 it was becoming apparent that I, in no way, am a cyclist. My butt had spent enough time with the saddle (apparently that's what cyclists call the 'seat'??) and my legs were requesting the rest of the day off. It was at this moment that I realized that there's a part of competitive runners that shares the same tenacity as that of an NFL lineman.
My body was beginning to fatigue, but my heart and soul forcefully responded, "Alright big boy, it's time to go to work. Let's do this!" This began the final push. So far during the ride we had averaged around a 18 mph pace. I was now pushing 23-24.
I find myself in this same mentality after mile 15 or so of my longer runs. My glycogen stores begin to disappear and I'm no longer running on easily-tapped sugar reserves. I'm running on guts. I'm no longer the 'warming up, maintain perfect form' machine of the earlier miles of the workout, I'm now your worst enemy. The hype and emotions of the earlier miles are gone and it's time to separate the men from the boys. It's no longer a game. This is serious.
Embrace the fatigue. Embrace the pain. Learn to let these very 'obstacles' be your fuel. They either rule you, or you rule them. In the words of Ryan Hall, "Distance running is a sport of pain tolerance."
He is right.
Let's do this!