I ran two miles this morning. Not so exciting, right? Well like anything else, that depends on your perspective. For my meshugeneh ultramarathoners who may come limping into my NYC podiatry office, that distance is almost literally a walk in the park. Then again, for some other patients who may only be accustomed to running for the bus in the mean streets of NYC, it may be the equivalent of a marathon. For me, it was just right this morning, and gave me a nice jolt to start the day and a chance to break the first sweat in the NYC heat. I’ll leave the long runs for Sundays. Meanwhile, let’s get some perspective, for those who are proud of their own distances, and see what some other people are running.
We can leave Jim Fixx out of this discussion for now. He was the man back in the day, and may have been the first guy to make running cool. Great life and tragic death. Let’s just say for now that running may have prolonged his life. Of course there is the original ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, the guy who ran 50 marathons in as many days, one in each state. He was pretty cool until Kilian Jornet came along, and among other feats of uber human endurance, ran the 165 mile Tahoe Run in 38 hours, 32 minutes – 7 hours faster than the previous record holder. And that’s after getting lost in the middle of the night and only sleeping a total of 90 minutes. You can read more about him here.
Like your ultramarathons? A NYC podiatry patient of mine completed a five day torture march through the Gobi desert that competes with the Bataan Death March for sadism. It’s a full marathon for each of the 4 days, then, just for fun, two full marathons on the last day. Nice, right? If you don’t like international travel, how about the Badwater 135? It’s 135 miles through Death Valley over 48 hours. Uphill. And if that sounds too pampered, you could always try the Barkley Marathons for a few days of pure hell, assuming you can figure out how to enter the marathon.
Anyway, the point is, whatever distance you run, someone always runs more. Which means that we only have to compete with ourselves. Be proud of your runs, and love them. But at the same time, strive to do better and to love them even more. And then, apply that to the rest of your life, and teach it to others.
See you in the office.
Ernest L. Isaacson