Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Like Remembering an Old Friend

Ever since the marathon Saturday, I find myself looking back at that wonderful day, the gorgeous weather and scenery, the experience of pushing myself and realizing more strength than I thought I'd have approaching a marathon untrained... and it is almost like remembering an old friend.  I sigh.  I smile.  I think, what a great day that was. 

I simply love remembering.  My previous post about chasing my "huckleberries" does not really touch upon how much fun I had out there.  How each step was a surprise because the whole time I expected to feel totally depleted around the next corner, on the next mile... I remember looking out at rolling green fields dotted with black cows.  I remember looking up at the blue sky and noticing that the trees were beginning to change colors as just a touch of red could be seen at the tips.  I remember glancing down to see a golden, furry caterpillar crawling across my path and hopping over him.

I remember the sensation of passing Blue Shirt after chasing her for so many miles.  I laugh as I remember the game I played in my mind and the names I gave those in front of me.  When climbing a hill and wondering if I could catch the person in front of me, I could hear Jason's voice say, "Everyone has to climb that hill," reminding me that I was not the only person facing these challenges and my legs were not the only ones burning.  So were theirs.  Its just something he always says to me when I talk about slowing down on hills or finding a course difficult.  I knew that if Jason could see me along the course, he would make that hand motion he makes that signals me to pass the person in front of me.  That always makes me laugh, but spurs me on to do it too.

Yesterday, I was talking with the Sports Nutrition instructor here at UAH about fueling, recovering and training and how the muscles respond, and he eventually asked about my questions.  I told him about the marathon and training for an ultra, although I didn't go into specifics and while he had some great and helpful things to say about muscles and recovery, I could tell the overall view of people like me was one of extremism.  He sort of had us all figured out and while I cannot argue with much of what he said, there was a component he didn't understand.  But it wasn't one I could explain either.

It is that feeling of remembering Saturday.  It is the memories I have of everything marathon I've run, good or bad.  It is bonding with Jason and my mom.  It is running with my dearest friends in the world - who I only see at 5:00 am in the morning.  It is the experience of the body running down the road on a gorgeous day, wind sweeping by my ears.  It is the tears, the sweat, the salt, the raised hands in triumph at the finish line.  It is that feeling.  And I think this feeling is more than what we like to call "runner's high."  This feeling lasts much longer than that.  It is a life-feeling.

As I said before, I can't explain it.  The title of this post doesn't even really say it.  But it is so wonderful and I feel so blessed to have it.  No matter what anyone thinks or says, I will always be thankful for days like Saturday and all the experiences and memories and wordless feelings that surround it.


  1. I love how you describe your love of running in this post! It completely resonated with me. Great race last weekend and I wish you many many happy miles training for the ultra.
    -we haven't ever met, but I live in West Tanzania and heard about you from great friends of ours ( :
    I'm so glad I heard about your blog b/c I love reading and can't wait to learn from your experiences in racing (and ultras especially since I really hope to do my first ultra in the next year or so!)

  2. You said it, Jane. The marathon can stick with us long after it's over. I love that feeling! We have missed you this week!

  3. Hi Emily! Thanks for reading! I'm so glad you read and enjoy! Good luck on your plans for your first ultra!

    Katie, I have missed you girls too! My legs have been so sore and I think the smartest thing for them is rest so they can heal and I can pick up with my training once they are mostly recovered. This is something I learned from talking with the sports nutrition guy here.

  4. Beautifully written as always Jane!! You are such an encourager such an inspiration. It makes me want it, want what you have want those lasting friendship and memories. I'm in atl now with my parents and feeling blessed to be able to be here and actually spend some quality time with them. I did bring my running clothes and jogging stroller to get out there. Thank you for always encouraging Jane it means so much. Thank you for being that strong example that pushes me to be a better person. You are beautiful inside and out such a blessing to those around.
    ~ Dana S

  5. Jane-I always love reading your blog. This one brought tears to my eyes because even though I've never run a marathon, thinking about running makes me feel good about me. And I'm sad because I can't run right now and don't know when I will be able to again. I really miss and hope to get back to running for pleasure and training once my foot heals. Thanks for inspiring me so often! If it wasnt for you and Julie and Karyl, I probably would have given up a long time ago! Thanks for sharing this wonderful sport with people like me!

  6. Oh what a gift you have! You said "you can't explain it", although, you do it much more justice than I ever could. That "runners high" is certainly something worth experiencing, and I thank you for reminding me of the blessing running is in my life.
    PS: Training for my next half marathon in November!