So this was the scene sitting around the table at brunch this morning after my 17 mile run. It was me and runner 1, runner 2, and runner 3. All of them are friends that I’ve been “running with” or at least starting at the same place and time with for a while now.
Runner 1 is an incredibly talented female runner, super fast, who’s planning 2 marathons this fall. She’s qualified for Boston, twice, and ran 65 miles last week. She’s been running some of her “slow” runs at an 8:00 pace – yeah. Runner 2 is another very talented runner, male, Boston qualifier, who makes running look so easy. He says he’s going to hit a certain pace, and he does. Every time he races, he PRs and seldom does he “struggle’ through a run, not even his 20 miler this morning. They sat down at the table, feeling fine, and ordered normal food to re-fuel after their run.
Then there was runner 3. I ran with him for the first 12 miles of my 17 this morning. He wasn’t feeling it this morning and was having a hard time. He wasn’t REALLY struggling but it was harder than normal. It happens, I’ve been there many times. Runner 3 is a lot like me, has to work a little harder than runner 1 and 2 to get decent results, so I appreciate his effort TREMENDOUSLY. Runner 3 ordered a bowl of fruit and was disappointed that he didn’t finish the entire run.
I sat there nursing my ginger ale, the only thing I could stomach and talked a little bit about my run. It felt fine for the first 11 miles .Then it started getting hot. I was trying really hard to occupy my mind. Running around North Park I wondered why I never saw anyone swimming in the lake. I wished I was out kayaking so I could splash the cool water all of myself. I repeated the same song in my head over and over; “Funeral for a Friend” by Elton John….
“….love lies bleeding in my hand…”
All those things helped a little, but the last three miles hurt. My legs were exhausted and I was sweating like nobody’s business. As I sat around the table afterwards, knowing we’d all be back at it again next Sunday, I started thinking. Which one of these runner types earns more respect? The runner who has true natural ability and seems to fly through every run without issue, or the runner with less natural ability who despite the struggles, keeps coming back.
The answer in my opinion, is both types. I respect the runners who seem to be born to run. They conquer every mile with purpose and strength. I envy them and admire them. Runners like myself deserve respect too. I mean, obviously I have my share of struggles. It seems like a week of runs can’t go by without at least one of them sucking big time. But I’m there EVERY WEEKEND with runner 1 and runner 2 anyway. I’m proud of myself for that. Quitting would be so much easier. As a matter of fact – in my last mile, my final thoughts revolved around how much this sport sucks.
Until you cross that finish line. Then, it’s glorious.
After a long nap with my dog, Cooper….
For all you runners out there who have such amazing raw talent, thank you! You motivate and inspire me. And for all you runners out there who struggle to get every mile done, you are my comrades, and I know what you go through each and every time you lace up your shoes. You also inspire me.