Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner

I'm getting excited for the Hospital Hill 10K this Saturday. I'd like to tell you that the tangible rewards of these races don't mean anything to me, but I'd be lying. I love getting the t-shirt and all the other fun stuff that they usually put in race goodie bags. According to the web page, this year is a good one to sign up for this race. The t-shirt is a "tech tee," meaning it is sweat-wicking. They're also giving us visors and backpacks, as well as medals to all finishers. THEN, there's a pancake breakfast. Is it wrong that I'm more excited about the pancakes than anything else?

I've had a race virtually every weekend for the past 5 weeks, except for last weekend. I found myself waking up automatically at 5 am, missing the nervous butterflies, wishing I had a bib number to pin on. As I did my solitary 8 mile run, I gazed longingly at other runners as we crossed paths, hoping one of them would talk to me. At a stoplight, an older gentleman runner asked me how I was doing, and I just said "I'm in pain!" He said he was too. We chatted about Hospital Hill momentarily. He was signed up for the half marathon, but didn't think he'd even make it to the starting line because he was injured. I wanted to keep running with him and chat, but he told me to go on ahead because he was slow. Um, like I'm Flash Gordon with my 10 minute miles?

I'm really looking forward to starting up with a running group in a couple weeks. As my long Saturday runs approach the 10, 15, and 20 mile marks, I'll need actual human beings to keep me going. There's only so much motivation an iPod can provide, right?


abby suzanne said...

I feel ya on this one. After watching Spirit of the Marathon I realized I would really like the support of a few running partners as the miles/time increases.
During my 10K I actually had pretend conversations with the people around me in my head.

Is your group that starts in a few weeks specific for your marathon?

mongolove said...

I will ride on your shoulder like a monkey if you want.