Sunday night I was trying my hardest to impress Michelle with tales from my 17 mile training run.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t buying any of it.  As much as she tries to care and get excited along with me, I can tell that she’d rather talk about grass growing.

One thing she did say was “So, a 10-mile run must be nothing to you now.”

Before I started training for a marathon, I thought the same thing.  I assumed that among the benefits of marathon training are:

  • the ability to run a 5K in < 21:00
  • the ability to run 10 miles as if it were 1 mile
  • weight loss without really traying

The reality is:

  •  I’m not that much faster than I was before.  I’m more consistent, but overall not much faster.
  • 10 miles doesn’t seem as long as it once did, but it’s still tough
  • I haven’t lost a pound through the past 8 weeks of training.  I think I’ve actually gained weight.

This morning, I thought more about what Michelle said and came up with my very own 5 stages of every run.  No matter the length of my run, these are the five major mental and physical stages that I seem to hit.  Some of them can occur more than once.  Sometimes they last for 10 seconds, other times 20 minutes.  No matter what, I know that each run, no matter the length, will have these stages:

  1. God damn this hurts:  feet hurt, knees hurt, hips are tight. Generally this happens when I’m starting a run and when I’m nearing the end
  2. Thinking deep thoughts: I’m still aware of my legs moving, but my brain is mostly focused on other things - it could be a problem @ work, the toast for Ted’s wedding .. any variety of things.  This is the part of the run I enjoy the most.
  3. I hate running:  I think this @ least once every run.  I lose my form.  Each step is an effort and I just want to be done.
  4. How in the hell did I get here?  Generally, occurs after Thinking Deep Thoughts.  Myy brain just shuts down.  It doesn’t last long, and I wish it would happen more often.  During this stage I’m not aware of my legs moving. 
  5. Look @ the pretty flowers:  the part of the run where everything is just working and I’m aware of it.   I get to run by some beautiful scenery. My brain isn’t thinking about work.  No problems exist.  I’m just running and enjoying my surroundings.  Close to “How in the hell did I get here?”  but in this one, I know what’s going on.