From afar I watched her. I saw her in the faces of seasoned runners. I saw the joy with her as their companion. Training run after training run. Building up slowly together until the two became joined. Distance and the Runner. Distance and Runner merged into one.
Distance is my passion. The elation and runner’s high felt after running a long way can’t be measured. I love it. I love it for the raw challenge of doing something that I never thought possible. The personal challenge is what I love.
I’ve been on a runner’s high since Friday. I still can’t believe I ran 37kms. That now I can finally say I can run a long way. My love affair with Distance has taken on a new meaning.
When I first started running I just wanted to get to the letter box. 1.2kms – to me back then 1.2kms was a marathon of a run. Then it was to run 5kms. I remember getting to the bridge that marked the 2.5km turn around point in a breathless state of exhaustion and thinking, Oh My Goodness, now I have to run back? Would I ever be able to do this running thing? Distance and her friends Discipline and Determination spurred me on to keep trying.
It got easier, no not easier, more doable. I learnt to trust my body and to see that it could indeed do way more than I thought it could. There came a day, long since gone and the date forgotten, where the 2.5km turn around point at the Bridge was just that – a turn around point with no fear or worry of not making it back home. Then I started to work on 7kms, then 10kms, then all the way up to 16kms for the Nile 10 Mile in 2013 – my longest run to that point was 12kms, how I got through to 16kms was all down to sheer determination not to quit and encouragement from the blogging community (something I will never forget). According to Pauly, as I got to that finish line, I looked like I was going to cry from pain and exhaustion. But I made it and I was so happy!
At the start of this year my favourite running distance was 7kms, then it jumped to 12km, now if I had to go out for a run for fun the distance I’d choose would be about 18kms.
How ever on earth did this happen? Me the Unsporty Woman loving to run far? I fell in love with Distance. Its allure, its solitude, its challenge. The feeling of accomplishment, sweaty exhaustion and being so totally spent – I fell in love with all of that. I fell in love with the weekly early morning long run with my running buddy Louise. I fell in love with The Running Group’s long runs. I fell in love with running far with Pauly . And I fell in love with running far with just me and Distance, me and my thoughts and the road – time out from life to renew a tired mind.
I have typed this many many times – if I can do this anyone can. Distance isn’t for everyone, this is true. But if Distance has an allure for you and you would like to get to know her better, don’t give up. From my limited experience I’ve learnt that Distance likes to be nurtured slowly. She likes runners to slowly increase the kilometres. She doesn’t like rush or fuss. I’ve found her to be a little shy to be honest. But she can become your friend if respect and discipline are the foundations of the relationship.
Distance is flexible and once the ice is broken, sociable and friendly. She loves solitude, but she also loves company and a good old chat makes the kilometres fly by. She loves it when we have supporters to help us get to know her. To encourage, cheer and believe that we can.
A love affair with Distance? A deep friendship and commitment to her? That sums up my running. 18 days until Cadbury Marathon – getting more and more excited!
On this Christmas Eve I wish you a Merry Christmas filled with all the wonderful people and things that make this celebration meaningful to you xxx
Happy running 🙂