Running Commentary: 'Til It's Gone


My 18-mile run showed great improvement over the 16 miler–if you remember, I actually shed tears both during and after my 16 mile run. Rather than give up, I chose to fight the good fight and put all my energy into preparing for 18.

I had a week of great food choices and ample hydration; I ate pasta for lunch and dinner the day before my run, and got a great nights sleep. On top of all that, Id had a productive week personally and professionally. I was both mentally AND physically armed to conquer 18.

My 18-mile run was great. It was by far my best distance run. It wasnt the fastest, but the way my body felt before, during, and after the run is a feeling I wish I could bottle and use in the shower. I quite literally ran into one of my best friends–also out on her 18-mile run–so we ran together around two idyllic Minneapolis lakes. It was an intoxicating morning–blue sky, sun, slight breeze, and cool temps. Between the way I felt, the weather, and the way my body performed, it was the trifecta of training.

However, on Monday night, I felt the first of what might be a major setback. My right foot started hurting. It seemed odd that it would flare up 48 hours after my run, and I blamed it on footware (Id worn heels to a party the day before, and spent the rest of the weekend in $1.99 flip flops). But instead of getting better, I woke up Tuesday morning to an even more intense pain–bad enough that I spent the day following “the RICE advice” (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). On Friday it felt better, but it wasn't back to 100 percent. Im staring down the nose of tomorrows 8 mile run and next Saturdays 20 miler, and Im frantically trying to get a doctors appointment so I can see whats really going on.

For the past few weeks Ive been complaining about wanting my life back; how READY I am for this marathon to be over so that I can focus on other things. The training has been rewarding in ways too powerful to articulate, but Im ready for Friday nights to consist of happy hours and girls nights again, rather than carbs and bed by 9 p.m. But now that I prepare myself mentally for the real possibility that this marathon, for reasons beyond my control, might not happen, Im mourning the notion that I might “get my life back” a little quicker than I wanted.

As an English major, it was continuously pounded into my head that “art imitates life.” If theres one thing Ive learned this summer, its that “training teaches life.” This weeks lesson is, “You dont know what youve got ‘til its gone.”

Theres a definite art to learning how to live in the moment and appreciate everything you have while you have it. If you are fortunate enough to have two strong ankles and two healthy feet, Im begging you today to appreciate that.

Go for a run. Do it for me.