17 miles!

A lot of people think running is the same thing as jogging. To put it bluntly, it’t not. And while I most certainly do not intend to degrade anyone who jogs, my sister Clare is a runner. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a jogger, but compared to Clare this past weekend I might have to put myself in that category. On Sundays I only have time to run a quick 5 miles after work and before evening Mass. In preparation for her third marathon this fall, Clare ran 17 miles this weekend. And yes, that would be all at once. Amazing right? Here is her marathon training update for all of you advanced runners out there. The following was written by Clare, a former NCAA Division 1 runner.

My sister Clare and Megan post Marine Corps Marathon, 2010.


Perhaps the worst part about marathon training is knowing and thinking about the pain that will come sooner or later on the run. I believe marathon training itself humbles and exhilarates you at the same time. That in itself, is the lure that brings you back when you have forgotten about the last one. Frank Shorter, a former American long-distance runner who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Olympic Games, once said “You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”

As I embark on week 11 of marathon training, that little voice inside my head is beginning to get louder and louder as I ask myself, why am I doing this to myself again? People ask me what I did this morning. And I tell them “Oh, I got up at 6 am and ran 17 miles.” Needless to say I got some weary looks.

But yes, before the East Coast was ravaged this weekend by hurricane Irene (I would have run during the storm, but great friends and family were concerned for my safety. I love running in the rain!) I got up and ran 17 miles in preparation for my 26.2 mile endeavor in 8 weeks. Overall, it was a great run! Got up a little early and ingested some carbohydrates to help maintain my blood glucose levels during my run. Did the first 12 miles on this awesome trail through the woods near my house. Then I ran back to my house where a half of a banana, cold glass of water, and my roommate Megan was waiting for me to finish the last 5 miles.

At around mile 9, I was feeling a bit tired and then I knew I need some “reinforcements.” I called upon them from Our Blessed Mother and the saints. That is when I just start praying for the strength to persevere. Having the motivation of knowing someone is waiting for you at a certain mile is also awesome. So for all you long distance runners out there, having a running training buddy is a great motivator because you think in your head “I can’t stop because they are waiting for me.”

Therefore my friends, knowing you will experience fatigue, pain and have to be mentally strong to simply keep going is what makes you a marathon runner. It is important to remember that feeling tired is what training is about. From a physiology standpoint you receive many benefits from marathon training only after you’re tired. So the goal is to run beyond the point of being tired so that the body is stimulated to grow stronger and gain more resistance to tiredness.

I have learned over the past couple years that marathon training or running in general is a great metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it. It is a battle of your mental will to keep on persevering and complete the task you started. So in our present culture that offers every alternative to avoiding pain. I leave you with a question – is there any kind of true love in this world without some type of resistance, struggle or cross?


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