As I've mentioned before, now that I'm down to the wire I've been doing a lot of worrying about the upcoming 50 Mile. The end of November signals the end of my training and as many runners do, I begin to question and doubt what I've done up to that point.
Well, I've got some pretty good running friends and because of them (and some lunch-time running website browsing) I came across some very encouraging quotes.
The first I found on the Run the Edge blog, and while the writer, Adam Goucher, is on an entirely different level than I am, our feelings about the start line of a race are very similar. He described it perfectly in his post. Here are the bits that spoke to me.
I have always craved starting lines. Starting lines have a magnetic pull for me. Even more than the finish, I crave the start. I yearn to toe that line and measure myself not only against my competitors and the clock, but also against my previous limits. Starting lines represent hope. They represent a dream, and all the preparation it took to get there.
I believe starting lines give you a purpose. When you stand at the line before the start of a race you know exactly what you want to do. You have a direction and a goal. During the race you are fulfilling that purpose with each stride and each breath. You are constantly striving to do exactly what you set out to do before the race began.
Maybe what he says here can help me answer the age-old question of non-runners, "Why?" Hope. A dream. Purpose. That's why.
The next quote I received from my dear friend, Julia, who sent me a link to Kristin Armstrong's blog on the Runner's World website. Kristin has also been training for a 50 mile race and I think hers is very soon. In her article she quoted Keith Pippin and his article, "Rules for Being an Ultrarunner."
When you run, there are no mistakes, only lessons. The art and science of ultra running is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The failed experiments are as much a part of the successes as the combination that eventually works.
Lessons will be presented in various forms and intensities. Each lesson will be repeated until it is learned. When you have learned one lesson you will be presented with another.
The learning of lessons does not end. There is no part of your running experience that does not contain lessons. Each time you run there are lessons to be learned.
As you advance to greater challenges, you will continue to gain knowledge of yourself. Periodically you will be required to reach ever deeper in to your inner being, seeking out the strength needed to continue the endeavor of the moment. The strength you seek is layered within. The number of layers in infinite. All you have to do is believe, have faith in yourself, and expect to find that which you seek.
And finally, this morning after a run with Katie and Tracey, Katie and I talked about the usual worry that always accompanies the end of one's training. I thought it was kind of funny as we switched roles and she told me exactly what I told her as she approached her Chicago Marathon and a 3:15 marathon finish time. She reminded me to have confidence in my training so far and not to scramble now, trying to fit in last minute things in an effort to catch up with whatever I thought I had not done (my paraphrase). Even though I knew these things in my head, it helped so much to hear them from her. She knows exactly how I'm feeling and exactly how to help, just as Julia found an article that might help me and sent it my way.
I'm so thankful for good running friends and for great runners who have shared their knowledge and experience with the rest of us. I hope you too, dear reader, can find some encouragement from these runner quotable quotes.