I got home at 3 am Friday morning. Not very typical behavior for a boring person like me who is rarely up past 10 pm. I was out having a good time with some friends. Lots of drinking. Mainly water, though there were some interesting blends to replace the electrolytes we were sweating away. You have to keep yourself well-hydrated when you are running all night.
Well, I didn’t actually run all night. But my friends did. David Barrett and his son, Dan ran all night for two nights in a row. And all day for two days in a row. You won’t find it in the sports page, but from 6 pm Thursday to 6 pm Saturday there was a 48-hour run at Eagle Island State Park. David ran 163.8 miles. Dan ran 111.0 miles.
My total was a mere 20 miles, though I was just a tag-along. My friends invited me to keep them company. I was there for the early stages when they were “fresh”. They had other friends scheduled to show up for the later stages when they were on the brink of physical and mental collapse.
Just three comments. First, there is no danger of me getting into “ultra” running. I vowed to never run another marathon (26.2 miles) 20 years ago and I have had no trouble keeping that vow. 10 miles is a long run for me these days. 20 is very long. I have run that far maybe 5 times in the last 20 years.
Second, it was the easiest 20 miles I’ve ever run. Why? For one thing, it was so slow. My “ultra friends” have taught me something I should have learned a long time ago. You can go a long way if you go slow enough. If you “take it easy”, as the saying goes.
Third, the other reason 20 miles in the middle of the night was actually an enjoyable experience was the company. I did learn this lesson a long time ago. Running is easier, much easier, when you are sharing the experience with others. We would talk about anything and everything. (Running that slowly, you really aren’t out of breath so talking isn’t hard.) And we would go for miles without saying a word. But just knowing someone was there with you somehow made those miles go by more quickly.
So, for those of you who don’t run, never will run, and question the sanity of those who do, what is the “take away” from all this?
Two things. (1) Take it easy. (2) And take your friends with you. Two simple lessons that make life so much better!