I think every sport, perhaps every activity, has it’s milestones that we strive to reach. When we pass these there is a sense of accomplishment, and a setting of that new goal to reach. In baseball, it might be a certain batting average. In a drive across country, each state that is entered. And in running our milestones are usually.. well.. Miles. Most runners I know see the 5 mile distances as being noteworthy milestones. 5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles, 20 miles that can be run without stopping (or perhaps run without causing pain, or in a certain time..) Last night, I ran over 5 miles – with no crippling pain during or after. For those that have been following along, you may recall that I ran 5 miles on March 16th, but then had fairly crippling calf pain that kept me from running again until March 24th.) This is also important as my best friend and I are going running on saturday to do five miles. I thought it might be important to be sure I could actually run that distance.
It is somewhat bitter-sweet however, as just 6 months ago, I was doing 13 miles. Crossing the 10 mile marker was a HUGE deal for me, and interestingly enough – made a difference in the discussions I had with the marathoners that live on my street. While there is no”rule” – it seems that those mile-markers also exist in the eyes of other runners, and “what sort of runner are you.” It’s not a judgement – as I think all runners think well of all people out running, but it can make you part of a different “Club.” To those people I spoke with, hitting the ten-mile marker turned me from a “runner” to a “long distance runner” which allowed discussions on what I was training toward, why that particular race, how to carry water, etc.
While my focus right now is on running, I think that in life in general, there are those “mile markers” that determine what “club” we belong to. I know people who do P90X and Crossfit – and if you also do the same program, you are in that “club.” When you apply for a job, you quickly find out that having a degree makes you “hireable” when not having it may mean you don’t get the first glance, let alone a second. It’s interesting to see how we assign our own mile-markers in life, and those that get assigned to us. Sometimes they are the same, sometiems they aren’t.
For me? Well, I’m looking forward to crossing that “ten miler” marker again… But for now, I am just happy to be back at 5 miles, with minimal soreness/tiredness the next day!