A surprising perk of running: The ability to run far

A friend on dailymile.com, Thomas N., posted this video the other day.  I thought it really captured (and perhaps magnified) the awesomeness of trail running.  Nothing like a little music to make running seem a lot more fun than it is!  The video was put together by coachingendurance.com — I have no idea what that is, so don’t take my posting the video as an endorsement.  I suggest you watch the first minute or so until it gets repetitive, then leave the music on while you read the rest of my post.  Such is my lame attempt to compete with Avatar by providing a multimedia experience.

Twenty miles sans anything

The Hashawha Hills 50K, which was supposed to be today, was canceled due to all the snow still on the trail.  The official tally, then, is that of my three 50K’s scheduled since December, only one has actually transpired.  My next is the HAT Run, three weeks from today.  Barring another blizzard, that one should actually happen.

So I put in 20 miles today with some friends in liu of the race.  I had actually only planned on about 12, but I just felt great and kept on going.  The downside of such spontaneity, of course, is that I was completely unprepared for the distance in terms of food, water, and lubrication of my naughty bits.

The result: I ate my first commercial energy gel in about six months (kind of gross, but tolerable), drank only a single gulp of water from a friend’s bottle, and my crotch feels like it was briefly dipped in napalm, or perhaps treated with lye.  (How many subscribers might that nugget cost me?)  And now I feel a little sick, because that’s how I generally feel when I don’t bring enough nutrition along.  Not recommended.  So I’m lounging around in my Recovery Socks, and I’ve made Sascha the unofficial Recovery Sock dog with one of the way-too-many headbands they sent me:

At least I drank a proper recovery smoothie!

Running saves my ass

Running offers a lot of benefits, the most commonly-cited being improved health and increased quality years of life (not necessarily a longer life, though).  But this week I noticed a surprising, yet so obvious, one — the ability to run far.  It’s not often in the modern world that this comes in handy; we don’t have to wear down our prey with our endurance to put a meal on the table anymore.  (For those who haven’t read it, this theory of why we run was presented in Born to Run.)

I left for school a little late one morning, and when I got there I couldn’t get a good parking spot.  I was left with what would have been a 15-minute walk across campus, with class starting in only five minutes.  I won’t make the story any more dramatic than it is: I ran to class, and still showed up a minute or two late.

But for whatever reason, I was struck by a sense of pride at being able to run like that.  In jeans, stabilizing my bookbag with one hand, I made it to class without breaking a sweat and hardly even breathing heavily.  Surely nobody suspected that I had just run a mile when I walked into class.

Ok, so it’s not hunting a wildebeast to feed the clan, but it was cool for me.  In that small way, being an endurance runner came in handy.  And on a very primal level, it made me proud on an otherwise routine morning.

Anyone else ever notice something like this, or do I need to stop thinking so much?

Last thing, check out Megan’s latest Running Shorts post: Are you making these running mistakes?



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  1. One thing I love about running is being able to actually feel the progress. I had the opportunity to run with my sister for 8 miles this weekend. Now, she’s just starting out and 8 miles was the longest distance she had run up to this point. She was struggling the last couple miles to get through it, but I actually felt like I could keep going. I remember being in her place, not too long ago, and it made me think about how far I had come. I love being able to go on long runs and know that I can do it without throwing up, being overly sore, or being totally dead the next day. It’s amazing how our bodies adapt. Now, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to your ultramarathon distance, but I am tackling my first marathon this fall and I’m excited about seeing what my body can do!
    .-= Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)´s last blog ..Trying to fit it in =-.

  2. Great video- perfect song for it to! Running makes me feel so strong. 20 miles today? Way to kick some major butt. Sascha is freaking adorable!
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Brewvival & Answers =-.

  3. Nice! I know I can book it to class when need be!

  4. Love your post. Running makes me feel badass so I get what you’re saying.

    The song in the video (Viva la Vida) is great. My husband and I are both runners and we used the instrumental version of that song as we entered the reception hall during our wedding this summer. I put the instrumental version on my iPod and still get goosebumps whenever I hear it.

    The video got me psyched for my 10-miler tomorrow! Thanks!

  5. If you liked that video, you should check out Matt Hart’s video from 2009 (the one you put in was I think 2008’s summary):


    Nice work on the 20 miler…I only ran 5 or 6 miles today.
    .-= Blaine Moore´s last blog ..Matt Hart’s View of the 2009 Endurance Scene =-.

  6. Lubricating your naughty bits… hilarious! You made me crack up this morning. It’s pretty amazing being able to train your body to run far and not feel pooped out afterward, even though I’m no where near your endurance level. After watching the video it made me want to run!
    .-= Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather´s last blog ..Dave’s Killer Bread + Giveaway =-.

  7. I was procrastinating on my run by checking my feed reader and came across this! Ok I’ll get my butt outside now but wanted to tell you thanks for sharing the video.

    I can’t immediately think if any situations where the ability to run well has come in handy, but it is cool knowing that if need be, we can do it. The same is true (and maybe even more so) with swimming. Having grown up around the water it gave me a lot of confidence to know that if an emergency arose I could swim a decent distance. That said, I still need to work on my stroke.
    .-= Billy Broas´s last blog ..How to Make a Black and Tan =-.

  8. How freakin’ cute is Sascha??? I loved that video. I miss trail running! Once Boston ends, I’m back at it. This video makes the wait that much harder…

  9. An unexpected perk of running for me has been the fact that I am the last one still dancing at the clubs…all the other girls are tired from being on their feet! Psh, 3 hours of dancing is nothing after 4 hours of running!

  10. I totally get where you’re coming from. As a woman, I love being able to run long distances because it gives me confidence to know I can outrun a purse snatcher / robber / rapist / attacker. Having real-life application to my running is a huge benefit!

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