Who does that?
According to some of my friends, only crazy people.
According to my recent experience, the answer is actually a lot more people than I expected. There are a lot of people in the world that I know, who regularly spend hours at a time putting in laps at the track, loping around their neighborhoods, or bounding down wooded paths.
There's amazing variety among runners.
Some can finish a marathon in less than three hours and do it again the next week. Others are over the moon when they finish a single mile without a walk break.
Some enjoy all the fancy gear and revel in discussions of heart rate monitors and paces and race strategies. Others just like to lace up their shoes and go.
Some lose themselves in music, pumping the jams through headphones guaranteed not to fall out. Others forgo this extra boost and listen to the birds and the wind and the sound of their own feet hitting the pavement or the trail.
Some live for their next race and spend many happy hours researching the next running vacation destination. Others go solo all the time, not interested in the adrenaline rush created by a crowd and a starting gun.
Some look for the next new training method or diet or supplement to boost mileage and speed. Others are content with the pace and miles they put in.
For some, running provides much needed alone time. For others, it is a great way to socialize and make new friends.
Despite all this variety, I've learned something very important about people who run. After we get out there, no matter how well or badly the run seemed to go, whether we brought along a pile of gadgets or left them all at home, if we set a personal record or ran more slowly than expected, we almost always feel like rock stars. Just like I do right now after NINE MILES!
Also, we feel hungry. Very very hungry.