|This is the earliest running photo I could find. It's the St. Xavier
Tiger Invite in Seneca Park, Louisville, in August of I believe 1997.
Running all those miles gives me plenty of time to think. One question folks ask me is what I think about when I'm out running. Well, sometimes I think about the horrible things going on in the world, and how I'm privileged to have avoided most of them. Sometimes it's just what's going on at work or with friends, and sometimes nothing at all, but sometimes I figure things out for myself. Here are a few of those.
|On top of the world: just before Boston 2010!
|Later in 2010. Aaaand I hate everything.
2. Slow down. Rest. I say this so often that if you've ever talked to me about running, you've probably heard me say it. It's like my religion. My approach isn't the only way--plenty of people run far less and do it relatively faster and race faster than me. Running a lot too fast is where you may start to have problems. In general, if you like to run and want to run as much as possible, intentionally keeping your pace easy on most of the miles you run--easier than what you're capable of--opens up many possibilities. My best long races come after cycles in which I slowed my training paces and took plenty of recovery time. That helped me not only train in my aerobic zone, but to avoid injury. I love running relatively big miles, but I have to run those miles mindfully and balance them with rest. I know I can't negotiate with my body--it will give all it has until it can't. If I can't be honest with myself, my body will give me the hard truth in due time, one way or another.
|Foam rolling and watching Star Wars a few weeks ago.
3. My body is awesome. For so many years, from a very young age, I hated my legs. I thought they were too big, and I really wanted my body to change. I never had a weight problem, so it was never an issue of needing to make a change for my health; it was complicated. I didn't start running to get the body I wanted, but when I started running, I started comparing myself to other runners and I wanted my body to be like theirs: lean and defined. Some of this was purely for vanity's sake and some was because I thought if I were skinnier I could be faster. Now VERY luckily for me, this never translated into an eating disorder. It so easily could have. But I didn't like what I saw in the mirror and in pictures of myself. Who does, right? I feel like just about everyone has this issue, in one form or another, no matter your body shape. I think for athletes, the issue can be become very sticky indeed because there is so much focus on the body and how it performs.
|Same body, different angles, lighting, etc.
I know that I'm relatively thin (I mean, yes, I'm thin; I say relatively because I'm comparing myself to runners who are even thinner--duh, don't do that). I'm a size 6, 5 feet 5 inches tall, and generally weigh about 130 pounds. Objectively those are perfectly normal measurements in healthy ranges. But sometimes I feel huge. It's such a weird thing. I feel like I'm an unreliable narrator in a novel--like my own perceptions are untrustworthy. I've read blog and Instagram posts from women of every shape, and it seems many see the same flaws. And no matter how toned and fit and thin one gets, they see room for improvement. I feel that way too. I can't help it, but at least I can recognize it for what it is.
|Mile 12 of 26 for the day--the moment
when I hit 30,000 miles.
Here's to 30,000 more. :)