Perspective: It changes everything

I headed out for my 11 mile long run almost 3 hours after my planned time this morning. It was so cool this morning, and I got caught up organizing things in my apartment, I didn’t really think about the fact that even in low humidity, 80 degrees is still 80 degrees.

I also knew I was already dehydrated when I headed out, but didn’t fill my Camelbak all the way. Instead I popped a couple of extra sodium Margarita Clif Shot Bloks before I headed out.

Within the first mile, my calves were on fire. A friendly reminder that I did a tempo run yesterday, then was on my feet unpacking and organizing for hours yesterday. Finally, my legs calmed down, and for the first 6 miles, I felt awesome. I even had a fleeting thought: what if I just ran an entire half marathon today?

I kept chugging along, and I took some breaks along the way. It was so beautiful, and I wanted to see the back half of the half-marathon course, so I ran 5 completely new miles, that were super amazing, and just had to document them.

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Part of my normal Schuylkill RiverTrail run

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View from Falls Bridge, about 6 miles into my run today

Within a few miles, my mind changed completely. I contemplated becoming a hobo and living under the trees, because I didn’t want to keep going, but I was ~5 miles from home. My calves were on fire again, I was oscillating between nausea and side cramps, I was definitely dehydrated but couldn’t drink too much or I’d make the side cramps worse.

But I powered on. And found this:

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The Belmont Stables, built in 1936, and the site of a riding academy.

And a little further I found this:

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The Philadelphia Water Commission in 1866

Again, I wanted to stop so badly, but was only at about 8 miles. I needed to go 3 more miles. Only 3 miles, right, that’s nothing. And I still had a great view:

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Philly’s famous Boathouse Row from the other side of the river

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The Dam and Waterworks from Martin Luther King Jr Parkway

But the rest of those 3 miles were terrible. In another mile I ran out of Nuun. My mouth felt like it was filled with cotton, and I could feel my throat sticking to itself. Not awesome. But I powered on, and finally hit 11 miles just outside of my building’s entrance.

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Although I made a lot of stops, my actual running time was exactly on my goal race pace. For it being 10-15 degrees warmer than race day should be, among all of the things I’ve mentioned above, I should be happy, but I feel so defeated because it felt so bad, for almost half of the run.

And then I turned on the TV when I was stretching and NBC was finishing up coverage of the know Ironman World Championships. The elites had finished, and they started coverage of the Ironman
inspiration stories, and given the state of dehydration I was in, tears should not have some so easily. They started with a woman, who less than a year ago was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She trained while having chemo and radiation therapy. Another woman was the Ironman champion 30 years ago, and finished Kona again. And the final story made me completely lose it. It was a firefighter from the Midwest who went to Ground Zero to help immediately after the attacks on 9/11. He has since finished 6 Ironman races in full fire gear, all to raise money for firefighters around the country.

These stories made me cry, but not just because they are amazing, but because they provided me with perspective. No matter how bad my run felt, someone is always out there doing something a million times harder. Its okay to have a bad day or a bad run, but to dwell on it being “terrible” or going through with giving up is not an option, because someone is having a much worse day than you, and pushing through it.

What is something that changed your perspective recently?
What story of strength have you seen/heard recently that touched you?
Do you get salt stains if you wear a hat when running?

4 thoughts on “Perspective: It changes everything

  1. Whoa! Looks like you discovered some beautiful places on the trail. Those little clips before athletic events on TV always get me! In fact, I am notorious for crying during the Olympics…they are a great reminder that we can always put things in perspective or look at things through a different light.
    Sounds like you need a change of pace..er scenery! I say you come visit Jersey this weekend 😛

    • Yes! Actually that is a great idea. The big music festival is happening this weekend and my neighborhood and the art museum will be overrun with ridiculousness.

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