I am like an Assistant Deputy Associate Parent Coach for my kids running team, the Prospect Park Youth Running Club. That means I usually run behind the slowest kids so that they don't get lost or I go stand by that tree and make sure they turn. It is a lot of fun.
I made an observation. With a few exceptions the difference between the faster and slower 8 and 10 year olds in a 3K race is not about physical ability or training. It is about the ability to run through fatigue. Some kids are gonna learn how to overcome this obstacle and others are going to become baseball players. I am not judging, Long distance running is tiring and it is not for everyone.
This Thursday I asked the coach not to make me run down any hills because I had done a 20 mile training run the day before. No problem. But I did not know that this request was overheard by one of the kids. This was not a regular 12 year old. This kid as god-given speed and the drive to win. HE says to me "Do you really run 20 miles yesterday?" I just said yea, that is why I am a little achy today. I wish there was a way that this 47 year old can tell that 12 year old how much I ADMIRE HIM.
12 miles. I was still sore from Wednesday, but I did not want that to stop me. I found that my quads had pain form the first step to the last, but I did not let that stop me. The pain did not get worse and it was never bad enough to keep me from running. (Thanks Wikimedia for the image)
When my wife was pregnant I sat in on the birthing classes. The pain management part helped me as a runner. I learned the difference between the pain that is going to kill you and the pain that will go away when the source goes away. I also learned how to observe pain, not let it bother you. "So this is what it is like to run when you are in a lot of pain....."
I guess the difference between a marathoner and a non runner is the ability to run through pain.