Earlier this week, I ran into a work contact from the West Coast who I've known for years. Rich is also a runner, so he asked about my training. That day, I'd gotten up at 5:30am to run 15 miles before work. I told him about the extra miles and feeling a little worn out. "I know exactly what you're talking about," he said. "And nobody really understands it."
I thought about that quite a bit. Distance running is such a solitary thing. Getting up early on a Tuesday and knocking out lots of miles well before the sun comes up is an odd, nearly irrational activity. Often I've found when people talk about the "marathon experience," they mean the day of the race. In many ways, the race is nearly besides the point. Those 15 miles, seeing NY wake up along the way, are what the real experience is, not a few hours of running along the streets of a big city with tens of thousands of strangers yelling at you. (I sometimes find this almost unsettling, to be honest.) No crowds, no medals, just some chocolate milk at the end and the self-satisfying feeling on the subway that you've already accomplished more than everyone else around you.
11 miles, 1:27:15