Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You're Stronger Than You Think

A lot of the last three years have been spent trying to get my knees back into good shape for running. I've still been doing marathons regularly, but not at the frequency of the past. The last two or three months have been a real confidence booster, however. Weekend before last was a real test of my level of endurance - a double marathon weekend. 

It was the Stonemad Ultramarathon event, beginning in Carlow, Ireland. You could create your own event, running ultramarathons one or both days, marathons one or both days, or even half marathons. Francine and I picked the two-day marathon option. Day 1: a scenic run along the River Barrow from Carlow to Graiguenamanagh. The beautiful Irish countryside, the river, the pastures filled with cattle or sheep, and a few friendly locals along the way made for a beautiful run. But that was the easy day. Day 2 was a run from Graiguenamanagh up to the top of Mt. Leinster and then down a trail on the other side as we looped back into town. The night between we slept on the floor at the local Scout hall. 

The thing that struck me the most at the end of the event is that I felt even better at the end of Day 2 than at the end of Day 1. I was expecting my knees to be in worse shape, but no. When we continue to demand things from ourselves, we find out that we're in better and better shape. 

If this is your first marathon or half marathon, you'll find that out about yourself. There will be times that you expect things to shut down. But they won't. You'll keep going, and find out that there's a lot more in the tank than you imagined.  

Just don't ever give up. You're stronger than you think.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Adventure - the reason we run

Fresh air, cool trails, and marathons all over the world to enjoy. Places to explore that you would never have known about if you didn't run.

I found a "jungle ruins" type of stairway up from the end of Sixth Street up the hill to Lookout Park. At the end of the bike bridge across the Grand River the trail can actually be followed along the old railroad bed, under the freeway and to the train yard on the other side. There's a great sand hill to climb in the middle of Richmond Park. And tons of other cool place right close to home. Stuff to explore with your friends and your kids.

Then there's Pikes Peak. Wild Horse Canyon in Green River Wyoming. The Pacific coast at Big Sur. The Inca Trail. The world is a big playground if you can cover a few miles of it on foot.

If you're training for something close to home, that's great. But there are a lot of good adventures to enjoy everywhere your feet can take you.

Approach your next run like it's an adventure. Explore a new road, a new track, a new trail.

See you at the finish line.