Just run the mile you’re in

photo-422About a mile into the Rock n Roll Philadelphia half marathon on Saturday, I did not have high hopes. It was 38 degrees, and I’d been standing out in the cold for about 90 minutes before I started running. My toes still felt stiff. I was hungry — I’d eaten in the morning before driving to the start, but shivering for 90 minutes turns out to burn a lot of calories. I hadn’t slept well. The baby was sick and had been up on and off for much of the night. I handed him over to my husband at 3:00 so I could at least sleep straight until 5:30 or so.

The first four miles were tough. The next four were OK. Miles 8-13 or so didn’t feel that bad. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it reminds me that much of distance running is psychological.

Yes, there were some adjustments (finding a porta-potty — necessary!) I drank Gatorade along the course route and that helped with energy. My muscles did eventually limber up, and the temperatures rose. But I think also in the first four miles I was thinking about the sheer volume of running I had left to go. Whereas in the last few miles I didn’t feel awesome, but I didn’t have that distance hanging over me. I could simply run the mile I was in. Any individual mile isn’t particularly overwhelming. It’s simply a manageable distance of putting one foot in front of the other.

In any case, Lynda and I finished. Even better: the baby napped for 3 hours in the afternoon, so I could nap and relax before taking the kids around trick-or-treating.

In other news: Are you in a 100-hour couple? I’m writing a Fast Company post on how couples with two demanding jobs manage their schedules to keep everything from falling apart. If you’d be willing to let me quote you, please let me know: lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. Thank you!

23 thoughts on “Just run the mile you’re in

  1. so agree with that ‘one more mile’ effect. in running and in life! my last 2 miles are often my fastest for that reason – no more ‘saving’ and stressing about what is to come.

    we are definitely a 100 hour couple (i’m probably 45, he’s definitely well over 60; likely 70+ some weeks). could NOT survive without our nanny. and additional babysitters when needed. pretty much that’s the whole story!

    1. @SHU – agreed. Getting as much childcare as you need is key. I was talking with someone recently who was having trouble keeping nannies because of the hours. I suggested that she didn’t need to find one superhero, she needed to find two regular people to split the job.

  2. Congrats on finishing! It was definitely much colder than I had anticipated, but I was also wearing only a tank top and shorts. Could not feel my fingers the whole way. I wanted to run the last 0.1 over again because I didn’t pose for the photographer overhead.

      1. I have never bought an official photo b/c they are so ridiculously overpriced. Not even worth it for my marathon. Also, most of the proofs show me wearing a grimace. Or with my head down checking my watch. So I was hoping to pose this year, but forgot to look up at the camera. Oh, well. There’s next year. Did you sign up?

        1. @Jane – I haven’t signed up. I’m feeling a wee bit ugh about races at the moment. I’ll probably get the bug again at some point. I love long runs, but there are a lot of additional transaction costs involved in races (what with the corrals, and porta-potties, parking woes, etc.)

  3. Well done on finishing. Running the mile you’re in is key – in life as well! In my former role we were a 100 hour couple, but now we’re a more modest sum.

  4. Thank goodness for 3 hour naps! I had fun running with you and am looking forward to the Philly Half in a few more weeks. I may bring blankets to the start this time!

  5. Your new article sounds really interesting — I’m pretty sure we’re a 100 hour couple (I work FT and my husband’s job is crazy) but I definitely wouldn’t hold up our schedules as an example to anyone.

  6. I love this: Just run the mile you’re in. I can think of lots of creative ways to repeat that mantra to myself. Just finish today’s tasks. Just get through this phase (of childhood). Just get through this project.

    Thanks for the fresh perspective,

      1. I think the hardest part is “running the mile you are in” without it turning into the waiting game Dr. Seuss describes in “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”… waiting to be away from bottles, waiting for the last one to be done with diapers, waiting for the naptime “restriction” to end, etc.

        1. @Karissa – true. While I do believe in honoring the season of life you’re in, I also think that waiting for the perfect time is a recipe for waiting forever. There’s a lot you can do, even with little kids.

  7. I’m an attorney and my husband is an engineer with a full travel schedule. We just take it week by week and, during the really tough weeks, we order more take out. We also both endeavor to get our running/fitness in during lunch, so that we can spend evenings together.

  8. Hi Laura,
    We’re a 100 hour + couple. I run my own business + my husband has a 60 hour week. He negotiated a day at home on Wednesdays so with childcare, I have x3 full days + school hours the other two. I started using your idea to grab an early start over 1 1/2 years ago so 5.30 starts combined with 2-3 work evenings basically give me an extra day. I carve out 2-3 hours on a Sunday for time ON my business not IN it + planning and my husband manages homework/ sports stuff with our 7 + 8 year old. Messy merge but having a routine helps everyone xo

  9. Congrats on the race! I decided that I don’t really like races, for the reasons you mentioned above. Maybe if I was doing it with a group, it’d be worthwhile. (or if I was fast enough to really be in any kind of contention) Otherwise, I prefer to just run the long distance on my own time, count my run home as part of it, and get to shower & eat within 15 minutes!

    1. @Ana- yep. Walking a mile to my car after the race was not exactly a joyous experience. I can run 13.1 miles along the Schuylkill river trail if I want, and there are even porta-potties if I need that experience!

  10. Yep, we’re definitely a 100+ couple. I work anywhere between 60 and 80 hours per week, and my husband works about 50, plus about 2 hours in the car each day commuting.

    We make it work by having a live in au pair, housecleaner, and dog walker. We focus on doing “extra” stuff only when absolutely necessary and fitting the work into free chunks of time on the weekends. We’ve recently added back some activities (swimming 3x per week in the AM for my husband, me occasionally walking the dog for him), because we feel like things are a bit more under control on the work front. Oh, the other thing we do is minimize my commuting time. My husband is also always the one who takes the hit when someone has to stay home, say, for the new oven to be delivered. Mostly because I can’t miss work. Ever. Unless actively dying.

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