New Miles

Today I ran new miles for the first time in about eight months. The farthest I had ever run before was 13.1 miles, but today I ran fifteen miles. The last 1.9 miles were new — 1.9 miles closer to marathon distance.

I had forgotten how much new miles hurt. I don’t know if it’s a purely physical hurt that comes from my body being asked to do something it has never ever done before, or if it is a mental hurt, a psych-out, that comes from wondering if I can do this something I have never ever done before and being afraid of what happens on the edge between experience and the unknown.

What happened today was not super fun.  My perpetually tight hamstrings were complaining again and they were joined by my glutes, my calves, and even my normally cooperative quads. It was a festival of pain and everyone was invited!

When going through something like that, I sometimes experience a brief moment when I ask myself, “why?” Why am I doing this unnecessarily painful thing? Why would I, on purpose, subject myself to it? Why keep going when it hurts? But the moment passes.

I made it to mile fifteen, though, by god. And when I got home I stretched out, used the foam roller, sat in the ice bath for twelve freezing-cold minutes, had a smoothie spiked with disgusting protein powder, cleaned up, got dressed, and started feeling more human again.  Those miles hurt, but I did them; they are in the bank; I move on with my day now.

Every time you go out and run new miles or otherwise do something you have never ever done before, you prove to yourself that you can. You go beyond what the limit used to be and carve out new territory, drawing a new line further out (and, quite literally, farther out) than ever before. You take two more miles of road in your town and write your name on them. There is more that belongs to you, and even more still that is now within sight. You understand in new ways what “painful” feels like, what “exhausted” feels like, and what “powerful” feels like.

Right now, however, when I have to stand up out of my desk chair in a few minutes, I think I am about to understand a new dimension what sore feels like.  Maybe I could just, oh, I don’t know, stay here for a while? Could someone go feed my dog for me? Maybe you there?


  1. 15! Woot! Congratulations–that’s effing awesome 🙂 I cannot even IMAGINE running 15 miles as a training run. You rock, and keep up the good work. Only 11.2 to go and the marathon is yours.


  2. I absolutely know how you feel. It feels so silly to compare, but today I ran 25 minutes without stopping. It was around 1.8 miles, i.e. just your new miles, so no comparison. But I did it all the way through, no headphones, not thinking that I could. I don’t think I got to this point when we were working out together, and I know that I didn’t do this when I ran our Covered Bridge 5k. (There were lots of walk breaks.)And here’s the thing I realized: it’s hard to keep doing things you’re not good at, especially when you’re used to being good at things. So rock it tomorrow, even if it’s not very fast, and keep being so brave.


  3. Rose-Anne – Thanks for the cheers! Only 11.2, haha. I’ll get there, though!

    Scott – I’ve got “Living Harvest Organic Hemp Protein.” It’s the “vanilla spice” flavor, and I think the flavoring is the problem. Too vanilla-y, too spicy. It overpowers the fruit in my smoothie. I’m going to try something different when I need to re-stock. You have any recommendations?

    Sunny – Thank you! And of course you can compare! you are out there running new miles and new minutes every week yourself. I remember getting to the point in C25K where I had to do 20-30 minute continuous runs, and the first time I did it was the first time that I thought I was really running. I felt like, “yeah, I am DOING THIS.” So congratulations on getting there for the first time! Take those new miles and write your name ALL OVER them!


  4. Kate, if you’re willing to endure ice baths and bad protein drinks to aid your recovery, you at least deserve a better foam roller: It’ll get deeper into the hamstrings, glutes, and other areas you have trouble with. And if you can’t find a protein you like, make your own custom mix at


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