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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Nov 2, 2013

JenniferFischerRunners will descend on Santa Clarita this weekend. Some will have traveled far to be here and run in the Santa Clarita Marathon, while others already live here, particularly participants of the 5K and half-Marathon.

Many of them, especially those running 26.2 miles beginning early on a Sunday morning, will have spent the last several months preparing and training for the run. Some will be seasoned runners who have run marathons before, but there will also be those who will be running their first marathon.

The runners will have paid close attention to what they needed to eat the night before the race and the morning-of, and will be mindful of having the proper hydration and fuel they need along the way, such as water and gel packs.

Preparation and proper training, particularly for a marathon, matter – a lot. They can prevent injury, during the training period or on race day.

Six years ago I trained for a 30-mile trail run. I had a proper training schedule and plan, but I didn’t always follow it as closely as I needed to. On my last long run (22 miles) before the race, I injured my knee. Despite the injury, I still wanted to run as much as I could on the day of the race. It was a race I had trained for. It was a race I had decided to run for my 30th birthday, and many of my family members and friends were coming to join me for it.

The day of the race, I managed 10 miles. The trail was grueling. There were bees, and I took a nasty fall at one point because the injured knee gave out. In the fall, I scraped up my shoulder and elbow pretty badly. I felt like I failed in terms of the run.

Still, my family and friends were there to support me and were proud of me. That experience, and the runners who have been preparing for this weekend’s marathon, remind me of the importance of proper training and fuel. Not only for something like a marathon or epic trail run, but also for life.

I often think many of us get so caught up in all that needs to get done that we don’t even realize we’re running on empty or that we’re nursing “bad knees.” Part of the reason I enjoy trail running is because of the views and the scenery along the runs, even though the elevation and terrain can be challenging. In life, though, sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees. We forget to pace ourselves, to make sure we’re enjoying the views and not just racing from one thing to the next – and racing, often, on empty – or on several lattes.

I’ve decided to be more mindful of enjoying the run and not rushing to finish. Life is not a race. Thank goodness. Each evening, instead of zoning out in front of a show or scrolling through Facebook or whatever other online distractions exist – and there are plenty – I’ve decided to unplug and be available and connected to my family – my children, my spouse or perhaps a friend who needs to talk. I’m fueling myself up through quality time with my loved ones, enjoyable experience, home-cooked healthy meals. I’m training for life – properly. I’m making sure I see every vista along the way.

With the “holiday season” basically upon us now that it is November, things can move even faster. There can be so much to do that it can feel like, rather than a marathon (well-paced, focused, prepared), it’s a full-out sprint and we’re often running on empty without even knowing it.

So this month and the next, I invite you to join me. Let’s keep it simple. Slow things down. Set the pace, and enjoy the race.

As part of my commitment to connections and slow living, all month long on The Good Long Road on Facebook, I’ll be focusing on gratitude – sharing different gratitude questions or prompts on a daily basis and sharing my gratitude and appreciation for the individuals, groups and communities that make my race a lot more enjoyable. Join me.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

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