I admit it. I read Women’s Running magazine. To me, it is a cross between Runner’s World and Cosmo. You get articles on the “Summer’s Hottest Swimwear” and “The Jerusalem Half Marathon” (which would be amazing, by the way) all wedged into the same periodical. There is variety. There is fluff. And there is also some good reading.
In the July/August edition, you can find a really inspiring article about Shalane Flanagan, U.S. record holder in the 3K, 5K and 10K and Olympic bronze medalist. Having only run middle distances, she decided to train for first half, then full marathon. She ran the 2010 Houston Half Marathon and set a course record of 1:09:41 (I could so do that if I wanted. Except that 1:09 was about my first 10K time).
Shalane (we’re on a first name basis) then started marathon training. Of course she doesn’t just want to run a marathon. That would be too easy and too human-like. She wants to win the whole race. Still contemplating which race to run, she’s thinking about London in 2012.
Certainly her sustained 5:15 and 5:30 minute miles throughout the half marathon were impressive. What really caught my attention, however, is what she had to say about marathon training. Her words resonate with all of us non-elites:
“Flanagan was surprised by the total commitment the marathon demanded. ‘It’s a lifestyle,’ she says. After her first 20-miler she spent the rest of the day on the couch.
But she loved it. She loved that she was transforming her bodying into something new, strengthening areas that had played supporting roles for so long (slow twitch muscle fibers), and going places she’d never been before (21 miles?). The process fascinated her, the idea that you can train the body to do more, take more, and it would hurt and you’d curse it, but then a miracle could happen: what felt hard a month ago felt good now.
‘My coach constantly reminds me that marathoners are not born, they are made,’ Flanagan says. ‘And every time he asked me to go longer it became a bit easier.’”
So, if you are struggling in your training, hurting, cursing, nursing tired legs and psyches - remember her words: you can train the body to do more, take more but then what felt hard a month ago might feel good soon. Hang in there. Enjoy watching and feeling your body and mind get stronger. Because it will happen.
Quote of the day:
My son is taking a photography class. It meets at a local senior center (which he thought would smell like urine but it doesn’t). Yesterday, as part of the class, he had to take a portrait of someone. He chose the old lady at the front desk. She refused to smile for the picture saying that “she doesn’t smile because her husband told her her smile was ugly.”
Who is this husband and why has no one done a Lorena Bobbitt on him yet?
PS: Win a Champion running shirt. Check out my giveaway HERE.