No crowds. No timing chip. No medal. And no name, either.
When I used to think about training for an ultra, I always wondered:
What happens when you run the marathon distance in training? Are you then entitled to add another notch to your marathon count?
Having done it for the first time yesterday with a 27-miler (just over half the distance I’ll be running in June), I can say that it’s not the big deal I made it out to be. When it’s a training run and not a race, it doesn’t take the mental—and physical—toll that is so deserving of the medal.
The run took me 4 hours and 25 minutes, and for almost the whole time, it was relaxing and easy. I happened to glance at my watch when it read “3:09” and found my current level of exertion laughable compared to the battle I had been through at that point during my Boston-qualifying race.
No, this was not deserving of the title marathon.
Still, I feel today like I accomplished something special yesterday. For the first time in my life, I ran a distance like that all on my own. A normal Saturday, with none of the hoopla of a race. Just me and my hydration vest, and several stops at the car for pitas with hummus. And a whole lot of miles.
I wish there were a name for running a marathon-that-isn’t.
Maybe a Karnazes, as he does this every morning before he starts his day (and apocryphally eats whole pizzas and cheesecakes in the process).
Or maybe just a marathon-that-isn’t. Or a n’arathon. Any other ideas?
Making a Difference
A girl named Amanda (who’s also a runner, vegetarian, and member of the Air Force) emailed me the other day asking about t-shirt sizing. But she also asked a question that really impacted me.
She asked what she could do to help.
Not to help me and my blog, but to help the cause. She said she had been inspired by Brendan Brazier and me (how funny is that?) to be an athlete who chooses not to eat meat.
I wrote back that she could start a blog or perhaps run a race for a cause, maybe to help animals. She emailed me back to say that she was already in the process of doing both.
Her blog is called The Year For Kindness, and there’s something special about it.
Why am I linking to a brand new blog that only has two posts up?
It’s not because she wrote about me. (Though I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me like it even more.) It’s because her reason for starting the blog is so admirable.
She wants to help.
I encourage you to read Amanda’s first two posts. They’re good reads, and they’ll inspire you. It’s neat to see such optimism and excitement at the discovery of this lifestyle.
So many people want to do something, and so few people do. Maybe it’s because people think new blogs will never get off the ground, or because they think their friends will make fun of them for wasting their time. Maybe it’s the fear of failure.
When it’s about a cause you care about though, all of that goes out the window. When you have a cause, you have a bunch of built-in fans, right from the start. The others who support the cause.
If you’re worried about starting something to help this cause of running with a conscious diet, I encourage you to do it. For whatever it’s worth, I’ll be on your side.