The "final:" a marathon for four of the students and a half-marathon for another student at the Rock n Roll Marathon in Phoenix on January 18th.
Both events are distances that less than 1 percent of the American population HAS ever or WILL ever run or walk.
I have to admit, there are no "Biggest Loser" testimonials this semester about students dropping big pounds to squeeze into new bikinis.
Nor has anyone displayed newly developed ripped, six-pack abs from the training.
But that's how it is EVERY semester.......
|Highline Canal, Winter|
I love watching students begin the training believing they will experience tremendous----- dare I say miraculous physical transformation.
They have goals of peeled-off pounds and chiseled physiques.
Only to realize that the changes are indeed profound.
But mainly INTERNAL.......
Instead of EXTERNAL.
It's not to say the students don't get in great shape.
I mean, hey, training for a marathon requires a guy or gal to run for a very long time.
Many times per week.
For 22 weeks!
In good weather.....
And in bad.
Which is why marathon training is so powerful.
Because it gets so damned hard.......
On the body.....and mind.
Thus requiring a bigger....DEEPER reason for doing it........
Than just bikinis and six-pack abs.
Let's face it, there are easier ways to get a "beach-ready" body than getting up before sunrise to run 20-miles at the Highline Canal when it's 10-degrees outside!
But distance training builds a mental toughness and resolve to conquer much, MUCH more than going 26.2.
Ultrarunner Scott Jurek says distance training is more about TRANSCENDENCE than FITNESS.
I think he's right.
Indeed it builds the character to conquer the bigger distances of life: overcoming the business failure, finishing that degree at age 30 whilst working full time to support three kids, or summoning the courage to end that bad relationship.
These are the REAL distances marathon training enables one to conquer.
When the students and I fly home from the race next month, I know one of the students are going to ask what type of training they should do while their legs recover.
I'll tell them to do the usual recovery type of stuff.......
.........maybe even some strength training.
Because it'll be Summer before we know it.
And you know what that means.
And who doesn't want to look good in a bikini?