Over the past 14 weeks, I've learned a lot about life in general through my many hours of training. Do I need to say I've learned a lot about myself? I'd be extremely obtuse if I hadn't. Hours alone on the road force one to reflect and just be. I've now run the gamut (pun intended) in weather from 98 degrees and dusty with an ozone warning to 25 degrees and sleeting. Colorado weather can be tricky like that. Here is a partial list of other tidbits that hit me along the way:
- "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon." No kidding. I think I've finally realized that the only thing that IS a sprint is, well, a sprint. And I'm talking about the sprint itself, not the many hours of training that enables those who are truly sprinters to be able to do it. Anything that you take on (raising a family, having a career, training for a race) will take a lot of time and learning to be successful. If you tear out the door at full tilt, you're going to burn out sooner rather than later, and you might even hurt yourself in the process. When you build a house without a good foundation, it will eventually collapse in a spectacular way.
- Fuel up. I have always just eaten when I felt like it, or maybe not eaten when I was too busy. Although my nutrition is generally pretty good(fruit and cheese are my favorite foods!), letting myself forget to eat set me up to become grumpy and listless. Try doing an 8 miler when you haven't eaten all day but quaffed coffee instead. You go out ok, but then the burning starts in your legs. Pretty soon, they feel like concrete blocks.
- Take a look around you. I never really appreciated the beauty of the area I live in until I started to do truly long runs. Of course, the mountains are gorgeous, but they aren't exactly right outside my door. I have a great view of the mountains, which is beautiful. But there is so much more natural beauty and wildlife in this area than I had ever noticed in the 7 years that I have lived here. I saw a coyote on an early Sunday morning. I saw a turkey vulture stalking its prey. I saw a hawk perched atop a fence, eyeing me curiously.
Soon, the race will have been run and the grueling training will be over. But the lessons learned will be staying with me no matter what my schedule looks like.