The Loneliness Of A Long Distance Runner

Man running on beach at sunset

Andres Nieto Porras by Creative Commons

Lately, I’ve been telling people this year’s Flying Pig will be my only marathon. It’s not that it’s hard training, even if it is difficult. It’s the sheer amount of time it’s taking. Believe me. It’s worth it. I feel great. My doctor is crossing his fingers that he can cut one of my medications by summer. And the idea of finishing is compelling for most people who attempt this.

It’s the length of the workouts. 7-10 miles on at least two nights a week. Long workouts at 20 miles or more. This keeps me on the road for a couple of hours on the shorter workouts and five or more hours for the longest ones.

The real impact is on my social life and my efforts to start a business. Time I need to devote to skill building and creating a portfolio is being taken up by running. And those Sundays when I have to run 20+ miles? You can write off everything after I get back from my run.

It’s totally worth it.

Last week, my program called for a series of six 880-yard runs, which is to run half a mile, then stop for about 30 seconds. I upped my time to a blistering 12-minute mile pace. And it felt great. My blood sugar is down despite the receptionist at work pushing candy and cupcakes on us. And I sleep better. Which is to say when I fall asleep, I fall asleep. So, yes, I’m glad I’m doing it.

But I’m ready for the race to be over.

“Well, TS, what happens after you run this marathon? Back to being a couch potato?”

Oh, no. My first 20-mile workout ended as a 7-mile walk. But the first 13 miles? Even though I ran more slowly to pace myself, I reached the 13 mile marker in less time than it took me to run the Loveland Half Marathon last fall. And the training for that took considerably less time. 4-6 miles during the week in the lead-up to the race and long workouts no longer than 13 miles. Which means I’ll still be logging miles, just not losing entire evenings and Sundays to workouts.

So the Flying Pig is getting me over a hump in terms of health.

But I am so ready to finish this race.

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