The Part of Training I Love the Most

I’ve reached that point in marathon training where it hurts. My quads are sore, my butt needs to be rolled out and when I think about squatting I want to cry because I’ve already put my legs through so much. This is the part of marathon training that I LOVE the most.

I know a lot of runners live for race day, but I actually dislike a lot of things about races. I dislike getting up early, I don’t really like the pressure of racing and I prefer running alone to running with lots of other people. I sign up for races because I am goal oriented … and I do like collecting a medal at the end ;).

I consider races to be an integral part of my training cycles, but THIS right here is the part of running that I love the most. I like feeling challenged, I like knowing I’m making improvements and I just generally like that exhausted and accomplished feeling I get from a high mileage week.

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The joy is definitely in the journey for me.

Last night I did yet another run on the treadmill. You would think I have money invested in treadmills at the rate I have been using them lately! Really, it’s just that the weather is at an agonizing high. When I got home from work, I changed into my running clothes and then saw this:

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Mmmkay, that’s just a little bit warm for 7:30pm! I didn’t have the willpower to force myself to run in that so I hit up the ‘mill.

It’s been a long time since I’ve got running at the beach though, and it is my number one goal this week to get out for a beach run at least one time! It HAS to happen!

So, this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t bring up the sad news story about Cecil the Lion.

I’ve blogged before about my support for big cat conservation efforts, and this story hits close to home for me because … well, I have a cat named Cecil.

Cecil the Lion was a beloved inhabitant of Zimbabwe’s National Park and was tagged and observed as part of an on-going research project on Hwange lions by the University of Oxford.

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The lions at the national park are not supposed to be hunted, but it is believed that Cecil was lured out of the national park with bait. He was shot with a bow and arrow. According to the Telegraph “the next day he was found wounded by the hunters and killed, before being beheaded and skinned.”

Trophy Hunting Auctions That Benefit Conservation Groups?

The man who killed Cecil, a dentist from Minnesota, had paperwork making it legal for him to hunt lions, and he claims to not have known that this particular lion was lured from the park. The dentist paid £35,000 or $54,600 to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe. 

In the past this dentist has also paid $45,000 for the right to shoot an elk and he has also won an auction where he was able to shoot an endangered Desert Bighorn Sheep. Both of these large sums of money went towards conservation efforts, so I guess that’s good?

The dentist has also hunted and killed polar bears, bison, grizzly bears and cougars.

I understand that hunting is a perfectly normal thing to do, and there are plenty of scenarios in which hunting is not bad. I even understand that there is particular skill in hunting with a bow and arrow.

I just don’t understand paying huge sums of money for trophy hunting. In a way I am glad that a lot of the money this man has donated as gone towards conservation efforts. I had no idea that such efforts existed and I did a little research on the (controversial) auctions last night. If you’re interested I would read this article in Conservation Magazine. It cites several scientific studies and explains these trophy hunting auctions in a very neutral manner.

The article does end with an opinion from the author that I thought was appropriate:

“The sale of the right to kill an animal for a trophy surely reflects the value that animal lives hold in at least some corners of our society; that killing an animal for fun isn’t wrong, as long as you can afford it. It is right to worry about the sort of message that sends.”


I am sorry to end this post on a bit of a sad note today, especially since I think I started off really positively. Thanks for listening!

How is your training going this week? 



  1. July 29, 2015 / 5:45 am

    I also love the training more than the race! Races can be so stressful- I hate all the pressure and feeling like you only have 1 chance to do well. But I also need a goal to work towards and a way to measure my progress.

    • July 29, 2015 / 8:08 am

      Exactly!!! Races are definitely stressful. After you’ve put in months of work, there is so much pressure to do well and meet your goal(s). Plus, since I’m not a morning person, just getting to the starting line is a challenge for me, haha

  2. July 29, 2015 / 6:42 am

    I am enjoying training more this time around. Maybe it is because I am not too far in yet? I just don’t feel as stressed out about it. I like the race, but it does stress me out. On the line, I always think, “why did I sign up for this??” But, I am always glad I did. I like the goal, and the hard work it takes to try and achieve it. If I didn’t sign up, I would have a hard time motivating myself.
    I don’t get “hunting for prize”…

    • July 29, 2015 / 8:06 am

      Yes, exactly, I feel the same way! Even though races stress me out I know I have to sign up for them to stay motivated. The feeling after a PR race is pretty great too! 🙂

  3. July 29, 2015 / 7:57 am

    Nothing beats the feeling of loving your training! After a couple weeks of struggling through long runs I was so happy to have a long run that was hard, but the rewarding type of hard.

    Thank you for sharing that article about trophy hunting and conservation. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and pretty much love all animals (spiders can GTFO) and trophy hunting is something that really gets under my skin. I’d really like to say that at least some good can come from it…but the whole situation just makes me too sad.

    • July 29, 2015 / 8:04 am

      Hahaha that comment about spiders is cracking me up!

      I really don’t understand the trophy hunting thing at all. I also can’t imagine just stalking an animal down knowing that you’re going to take it’s life. I know that may be hypocritical since I eat animals and I know that the slaughter houses are just awful. I was vegetarian for a year but I am weak and went back to eating meat right on my one year anniversary. I am really impressed by all vegetarians and vegans because I thought it was quite hard. Eating at home was easy but eating out with family/friends was so challenging because I felt like the only options were often salads or something made of beans, I know a lot of places are expanding their vegetarian and gluten free options now though, which is really nice to see.

      So glad that you had one of those super rewarding long runs! I

  4. July 29, 2015 / 8:03 am

    I think I like training more than the race too! Well it depends on the race… Disney races are the best!

    It makes me sick to think about that dentist killing Cecil. I will never understand why people would kill majestic creatures like that in the wild. I can understand deer and turkey and similar animals that can become overpopulated but not these gorgeous creatures. RIP Cecil.

    • July 29, 2015 / 8:10 am

      Yes, exactly! I can understand deer, turkey and other things where the hunter eats the meat at the end. That makes a lot of sense to me. I just don’t get trophy hunting and paying an incredible amount of money to hunt down animals for fun. If I had as much money as this doctor seems to have, I’m pretty sure I could think of a million other rewarding ways to spend it that doesn’t involve killing animals!

  5. July 29, 2015 / 9:31 am

    I so agree with you about trophy hunting, and the quote you ended with. It’s the pinnacle of selfishness and human arrogance. The auction process still seems bizarre to me, though. I just keep thinking of this Dear Prudence letter I once saw about a woman who liked to sit in the bathroom with the shower water running for a half an hour because it was comforting to her, but made up for it by donating to water related charities. Not entirely the same thing, but I feel like the same circular logic applies.

    I have more of a love-hate relationship with the exhaustion of heavy training. I love that I can feel myself getting stronger and that I know I’m in the best shape of my life, but it’s no fun to go through the rest of my life perpetually tired and devote so much time to running. I also hate that I can’t just run fast whenever I want. This is a point of both joy and frustration for me every time – joy that I’m getting in killer shape and on the path to achieve my goals, but frustration that running is becoming more tedious and chore-like instead of enjoyable.

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:30 am

      I know exactly what you’re talking about – and I am certain that I will hit that point of training somewhere in August. I remember feeling relief after the marathon was over, knowing that my schedule would no longer be so regimented. It helps that I don’t have much of a life outside of running, so I’m generally not missing out on too much 😉

  6. July 29, 2015 / 10:08 am

    I hate the whole hunting thing. I can appreciate folks who hunt deer and actually eat it, but trophy hunting and hunting animals for sport..nah! It’s like boxing and MMA crap, senseless violence, I have low tolerance for it.
    Cecil the lion is so beautiful it breaks my heart.
    Training, I wish I loved it! LOL I am worried. I actually love a race. People giving me water and not having to carry it is big for me! Just makes the whole long run so much more enjoyable.
    90’s is way too hot. I am kinda over summer now lol

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:33 am

      I’m with you, Karen. I can appreciate people who hunt and eat what they kill, but killing for fun just seems so cruel. I think something must be missing from the hearts of people who can just go out and kill an animal for sport. There has go to be SOMETHING else in life that they can find just as fulfilling.

      I have to stick up for the MMA crowd though. Adam trains in MMA and follows the sport very closely. It’s extremely technical and not as ruthless as it looks. I still have a hard time watching some of the matches, but for the most part I can appreciate it like any other professional sport.

  7. July 29, 2015 / 11:09 am

    That is crazy talk, I hate the sore leg feeling. The agony of having to lift your legs with your hands to get in and out of the car…way lol.

    I agree with hunting over populated animals.I don’t see the need to hunt animals for any other reason. I heard about this specific case but haven’t looked into it much, either way it sounds incredibly unnecessary.

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:35 am

      Hahaha noooo it’s not crazy talk! Embrace the sore leg feeling, it means you are doing something GOOD in your training! I sort of like hobbling about, I hobble like it’s a badge of honor, haha

  8. Kris
    July 29, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    Hi! Thank you so much for this post! I am also training for the Chicago Marathon this year and this reminder is exactly what I needed right now. My whole body feels sore, my legs are so tired, and everything feels hard when it comes to working out some days. This is a good reminder that the process is most often the most important part of the journey. Thank you!

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:36 am

      HI Kris! I’m so glad that you found this post helpful in some way. We are getting right into the height of training now and should embrace the exhaustion and soreness because it shows that we are working hard towards our marathon goals! 🙂

  9. July 29, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    🙁 that is such a sad story. I am an animal lover to the bone and I hate the thought of them being hurt. I can’t even stand to see missing dog/cat posters on telephone poles.

    I agree with you about loving the training part right now. I always am a little sad and feel like there is sort of a void post-marathon. It’s like all the training is done and ‘now what?’ I don’t really like that feeling.

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:37 am

      I remember feeling relief after Portland last year knowing that I wouldn’t have to get up at 3am to go running anymore, haha. But I love being in training and it feels like it’s been such a long time now since I’ve been at this point – it feels gooooood!


  10. July 29, 2015 / 3:34 pm

    Haha, you’re a much stronger woman than I am…because that’s precisely the part of training that I HATE the most, lol. I’m over here crying about the heat, and we just saw the 90’s for the first time over the last couple of days. UUUUUGGGGHHHH. Keep it up, you’re killing it!

    I’m heartbroken about Cecil, too. I’ve always been an animal lover, but now that I have a puppy (a.k.a. my little baby) of my own, the animal-related stories are hitting me even harder.

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:39 am

      I don’t believe you, I think you like it too. I think you MUST like it since you sign up for sooooo many races! haha

      Your little baby is so adorable! I know what you mean about the animal stories, they just tug at my heart. I’ve blocked animal cruelty stories from my Facebook feed because they give me so much anxiety!

  11. July 29, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    Training has really gotten fun. I like the higher mileage and tougher workouts. I wish I didn’t get as sore as I do, or as tired. The day after my last long run was a pretty rough day.

    I saw an article about Cicil the Lion. It’s so sad that people can pay money to kill such a majestic and wonderful animal. Hunting can bring in a lot of money for conservation, but those animals are not meant to be hunted.

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:40 am

      I’m so glad that you are enjoying marathon training! I know you had some reservations about signing up for a full, but you are going to love it!

  12. July 29, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    Thank you for the reminder that it is about the JOURNEY. 🙂 I have been telling myself this these past two days. I ran two 7 milers back to back, which as you know right now is HUGE for me. I told myself pace does not matter. Just do the run, enjoy the run, and get stronger from it.

    I skipped the part in your blog about Cecil. I have been purposefully avoiding this news story because I don’t want to be sad. 🙁 I know what is me putting my head in the sand, but I just have to do that on this one!

    • July 30, 2015 / 12:42 am

      Way to go on the back-to-back 7 milers, that is huge! I’m so happy for you!

      I knew you would skip the Cecil part, I would have skipped it too. I was avoiding all of the news articles about it until someone told me that the lion’s name was Cecil and then I felt compelled to read it. It’s so so so sad. The pictures … 🙁

  13. July 30, 2015 / 3:29 am

    Sounds good! Its really a wonderful allocation that again inspired me to start my running journey. I hope this time I will able to complete my Goals. Thanks

  14. July 30, 2015 / 11:05 am

    Amen to enjoying the journey! I am the same way about training vs. races. (I didn’t read the lion story because I knew it would be sad. I’m grateful you opened my eyes to this awful practice & have been telling everyone I know about it for the past tear. It makes me so, so sad.)

  15. August 1, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    I think you finding the joy in the journey is what makes you such an amazing runner. I like to think of race day as the cherry on top of the sundae…the training is really what makes us marathoners, you know?

    I’m so pissed about Cecil the lion…and now his brother Jericho, too. I can’t fathom why some people get joy and real pleasure out of killing an animal for no other purpose than bragging rights. Lions aren’t even hard to find! They just lounge around in the sun…like big cats, duh! So there’s no skill to killing a lion. These people truly have issues that they feel the need to prove themselves in this way.