Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Is the Loneliest Number

Every man is an island in the running world. Yes, you train in groups and race with a cast of thousands but at the end of the day you're running with yourself.

I don't know how to feel about this. It makes a huge difference to run with other people. Running alone, quite frankly, sucks. When I do my long runs on Sundays (26km this past weekend!) I feel like can take on the world. I haven't felt the runner's high yet but I definitely get into a zone of some sort. There are 7-8 of us all running at the same pace and we get into a rhythm which makes it easier to push on.

But running on my own for my training runs during the week is ba-ru-tal. Maybe I am just that boring, I don't know. I have to set my own pace and make sure I keep to it. The minutes drag. I feel every ache. I think I sub-consciously make my knee or Achilles hurt just to give me something to think about. I can only think about Colin Farrell for so long.

A few weekends ago I was wracked with guilt. In with my running group was my new friend C. She's been running about as long as I have, training for a marathon in December. And she just wasn't having a good day. So she dropped back about 3/4 of the way into the run. And the rest of us kept on going. It didn't feel good to just leave her and for the rest of the run I kept having this debate, "Should I go back? No, I gotta stick to my own pace". It just felt wrong somehow.

It reminds me of a story I heard from Special Olympics. I'm paraphrasing so I hope I get it right. It was a track and field competition and several Special Olympians were lined up at the starting line for a foot race. The gun went off and the athletes took off down the track. Part way through the race, one of the athletes tripped and fell, ending any chance he had of winning. The other athletes obviously had an even better chance to win the race with this new development. Instead, they all turned around and went back to help.

This story makes me cry every time. Another life lesson to be learned from people with developmental disabilities. That winning isn't the most important thing. That success is measured in other ways. That life lived together is better than life lived solo. So what's my strategy for surviving the marathon, where its every man for himself?

I will be running with 8500 people but I will be alone. That stresses me out a bit. I've relied on lots of other people to date but during the race its all up to me. Will the finish be as sweet then?

Check out the race I'm running, www.marathondumedoc.com
Check out who I'm fundraising for, www.larchecalgary.org
Check out how to donate to my run, www.canadahelps.org/gp/5210

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