For Impact


Marathon Running

Blog | | Nick Fellers

(Picture: Being directed to the finish line.)

I just finished up two marathons in two weeks (and third in three months). Big challenge. Big fun. Naturally, I find myself making a lot of training and running references day-to-day. Some thoughts/lessons below – I think the For Impact and life corollaries are self-evident.

  1. Keep moving: A race is one of the few activities in our life where measuring progress is very very clear. With every step you are closer to the goal. If nothing else, keep moving and (eventually) the finish line appears. I’m not always spot on in pacing, fluid consumption or any other area but I know movement is a good thing… so I just never stop moving.

    Mentally, I find myself breaking down other activities in this way. What can I do make clear progress toward the goal? Re: Funding – it’s getting out of the office…

  2. Q. Do you ever want to just stop because it hurts or it’s too hard?
    A. Yes, at mile seven!

    Somewhere between miles 7-15 my body says, “Stop! You idiot!” The distance part is mostly mental. In fact, I think much of training is really conditioning your mind to know what pain is real and what is not. What amazes me is that your mind can go far past that bar set by your body. So far in fact that it leads to more questions like, “Is there a bar in the first place?” [Lots of linked thinking to Quantum Leap]

    On Monday 90+ runners competed in the Badwater Ultra Marathon. 135 miles in Death Valley at 130 degrees and ascending more than 8000 feet over the final 25 miles. In a post-race interview with a blind runner Geoffrey Hilton-Barber he says – paraphrasing – “I think anyone can do this. The issue is whether or not they’re willing to open up and ask the question.”

  3. Practice and Form. In Chi Running (see bottom) one concept is practice. Each run is a practice in focus and form. This focus gushes over to day-to-day ‘work’ and ‘life’.
  4. Decide the Outcome: This all about the mind/body thing. Your must make a decision about where you will go and then execute – without rethinking the plan (trust me, if you re-think the plan on mile 20 you will decide to stop).

Other notes:

  • I’ve never been a runner. However, this spring I discovered two books that have changed my life. I have been that guy that runs once per year and gets shin splints. Then I picked up Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (as an audio book) followed by ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.
  • Travel is totally different. Nothing like being in Seattle and going for a 10 miles run to explore the city!
  • This past Saturday we ran in the Grandfather Mountain Marathon (Boone, NC). It was uphill (elevation profile below). Note, no part of the course if flat and after mile 12 there is no downhill. I was fortunate to run this race with my sister, her husband and Tom’s son-in-law. Tom came down on his Harley to cheer us on.