For my long run Saturday morning I met up with a group of Team In Training folks and we hit the trail in First Landing State Park. Two other runners were planning to go the same distance, so I folded in with them and despite the heat and humidity (81 degrees at 6:45am!) the miles ticked by fairly quickly.
One of the girls I was running with was having a tough day so we slowed down and walked a few times in the final miles. Having been sick recently, I was more than happy to take it easy.
Later in the afternoon I was chatting with a few runner friends about our respective long runs that morning. I noted that I was a bit disappointed that when I plopped down on the couch after my long run my knees didn’t ache. To the non-runner, I realize this sounds crazy. But, I really look forward to lying down after a long run and feeling a faint, general ache in my knees. To be clear, this isn’t pain might hint at a potential injury; it’s more of a faint soreness that dissipates within a couple of hours. I associate the ache with fatigue, with building endurance, with having gone as far as my legs would allow. I understand the ache as a response from my body that I have worked hard and that I am building endurance.
The next morning a friend texted me a quote from the September issue of Runner’s World:
“The nonrunner’s muscles ache and he gets cranky.
The runner’s muscles ache and his eyes spin in his head and he says, “Alive, man, alive!”