This is how Running Long is like getting Engaged to Your Sweetheart.

Do you ever do any long distance running? By this I mean anything over 10k. Something that’s going to require you to really commit, both in time and energy.

I had an insightful realization earlier today as I prepared to do my 8-mile run. Let me share this progression with you and see what you think.

I woke up this morning telling myself that I was going to go for this long run once the kids went down for a nap*. I made this proposal and committed to a specific time and place for this run to happen.

Did I keep this run to myself? Nope. I shared it with my wonderful and understanding wife. I told her, “Dear, I am going to go for an 8-mile run on the trail at 1pm.”

I planned and prepared for the run, making sure to hydrate and eat just the right kinds of foods. I didn’t want to be too full, but also not too empty. No, I needed to be just right.

Starting out, the run is always exciting. I’m always happy for the first mile or so, and I enjoy the scenery and the weather and it’s all rainbows and roses.

It doesn’t take long for things to get real, though. And then the stress sets in, and doubts start to rise up. “Can I really make this run today? Did I eat just the right amount? Should I have had one more bottle of water? Wait, is that a leg cramp coming on?!” Suddenly, I’m not sure I’ve made the right choice.

Before I know it, I’m at mile 4 and halfway home. Now it’s time to gut it out, because I don’t feel great but I’ve come too far to go back. And that’s actually good motivation, if for the wrong reason. I should want to finish no matter what, but I’m feeling tired and weak.

Suddenly I hear the voice in my ear tell me I’m at mile 6. I’m almost there! The birds are singing merrily and the roses smell oh-so-sweet again. Yes, this is what I really wanted. Why did I ever have any doubts about this run?!

From somewhere deep inside, I draw out the anticipatory energy to finish the last mile even faster. Because now I can’t wait until I reach the finish line!

And how sweet it is to be done! I feel relaxed and happy and so fulfilled. Is there any better feeling than reaching the end of a long journey?

Do you see the parallels???

Or, am I just reaching?

Happy Running!

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