Here be dragons


Before you could see pretty much anywhere on earth via Google maps — way before — map makers would write “here be dragons” for unexplored lands/seas. I’ve always loved that phrase!

How far can you go?
For many years I’ve wondered what lies beyond 13.1 miles (or maybe 14.1, because sometimes I do a warm up mile before a half). I’ve thought about just going out and running a longer long run after a race, just taking my time, stopping to eat and drink whenever I wanted to, because there’s literally no race (or reason to rush).

Of course I never did. I know some runners just love running long for the sake of running long, but for the sane runners, why would you spend hours running when you didn’t have to?

In every person’s life, there comes a time . . .
. . . when they need more: more challenge, more daring, more than the “norm”. Being a cautious runner, I wasn’t ready for a marathon. But I finally decided that I needed to find out what dragons were waiting for me after 13.1 miles.

Maybe I’d become too “comfortable” running halfs (not that it ever feels comfortable, mind you). Maybe I subconsciously knew that my body was ready for something more — or at least I hope it is. My training has gone well, as well as it can in such a humid summer; my longer long runs were definitely challenging, but I bounced back quickly.

As you read this, though, I have not yet tackled that longer race. It’s this Sunday. I know that barring a heatwave or an injury I will run 18.12 miles. There is a time limit for this race, though.

Again, barring an insanely hot day or injury, I know that I should be able to run the race within the time limit. I also know that’s it’s close enough, for me, to be challenging. There are two points during the race that if you are not on track to finish in the allotted time you’ll be swept (and I don’t even know where those are!).

They don’t call it a Challenge for nothing, though.

Some people are comfortable being comfortable
I won’t lie — that is me, most of the time. If I really wanted to be uncomfortable? I’d tackle that marathon. I’m not getting any younger. It would have to be a damn good marathon, though — great swag, no time limit (or a very generous one), and especially not during the summer. 

I can say without hesitation at the moment that training for a longer race has not whetted my appetite for a marathon. Quite the opposite. I also know that things have a way of changing, sometimes, when we cross that finish line. Sometimes months after we cross that finish line.

It’s funny how doing something harder can plant the seeds of change.

Growth only happens outside our comfort zone
One of the things I know for sure is that we have to continually grow and take risks that scare us — all through our lives. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not something that comes easily to me. It’s absolutely easier to keep things status quo and not rock the boat (or tackle the unknown distance where the dragons are waiting for you).

I hope that next week I will tell you that I slayed this particular dragon. I know it won’t be easy. I also don’t know what dragon I’ll need to slay next; I just know that there will always be another dragon. It’s what makes life interesting and exciting (and sometimes tiring!).

Talk to me:

Do you feel as though you’ve gotten too comfortable in your life?

When has doing something outside your comfort zone paid off big for you?

What dragons are you looking forward to slaying?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


35 thoughts on “Here be dragons

  1. I feel I have tackled enough dragons already in my life. Divorce, second marriage, raising stepsons, several career changes.

    Still face dragons almost everyday at work.

    Hopefully my next challenge will be grandmother.

    So running is my comfort zone. It’s not easy but I don’t find I need to do it for a challenge. I do it for many other reasons that I have mentioned on my blog.

    I like seeing different places so half marathons are what I usually run when I travel.

    Will I run a full? Doubtful. I am pretty sure I can do the distance. Training right now may destroy my love of running and I don’t want to do that. Plus finding someone to run those distances would be a challenge.

    But we’re all different.

    Good luck on Sunday slaying that dragon.

    I do think you will do that marathon. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think I’ll be doing a marathon anytime soon. Definitely not this year. Maybe I’ll say something different after Sunday, but I doubt it. I’m happy I tried a different distance, though.


  2. I think you’re going to be great this weekend. No worries on that cutoff.
    I set out to run ONE marathon. The distance has opened up great opportunities and revealed to me things about myself I did not know or had long forgotten. While I have no desire to run further than 26.2, like Darlene said, I do love running when I travel.
    If you don’t ever run that marathon, I think you’ll always wonder about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure if I don’t run a marathon I will wonder about it. Right now it’s really hard to commit to something like because of personal stuff.

      Plus I’ve read so many horror stories about the last 10k of a marathon, not to mention — it would still be a really long time running! It’s different when you’re BOTP.


  3. I’ve always wondered what that phrase meant… haha! Good luck with the longer distance. I do like being comfortable, though I pushed my distance when I did my 12k in May. I know my knee limits me, and when I wasn’t dealing with that, I just didn’t want to do a marathon. It’s so much training!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m really excited for you and this race – you WILL slay the dragon! You’re so right – sometimes I get in my comfort zone, but I know it’s important to take risks to really get to the next level, really in any aspect of life. I’ve been thinking a lot about that as I enter marriage in the next couple of months….change is hard but can be so rewarding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marriage is like a marathon. 🙂 And you’ve already run those! It was different way back in the stone age when I got married — we never lived together except about a couple of months before we got married. We celebrate 33 years in Oct though. My God, we’ve been married longer than you’ve been alive — ouch! Happy belated birthday, btw!


  5. Tackling my first marathon was definitely my dragon. Throughout the first few weeks of training I kept telling myself I was crazy for even attempting to run 26.2 miles. Somewhere during the middle of training a switch flipped and I felt a wave of confidence. i will say that crossing that finish line was definitely a highlight of my life. now i don’t necessarily “love” running long distances, but it is a challenge for me, and I can never say no to a challenge!

    Good luck at your race this weekend! Wishing you cool and humid-free weather!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting that your mindset changed halfway through your training.

      18 miles is a lot less than 26.2. So I guess I sort of went with the comfortable choice again — it did (does) scare me, but definitely also seemed much more doable than a marathon.

      I’m sure I’ll now be curious about what it’s like to run longer when it’s not so dang hot & humid!


  6. I have not heard that phrase before but I like it! Like you, the farthest I have run is probably 14 miles. i have not had the urge to run longer yet. I definitely stay in my comfort zone most of the time but I am working on that a lot lately. I hope you have a fantastic time this weekend-go get your dragon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re going to have a great run this weekend. Yes, it will challenge you. Which is one of the reasons to do it, right? Good for you for stepping (literally) outside of your comfort zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I absolutely love everything about this post Judy! I am finding that the older I get, the more willing I am to step outside of those comfort zones and attempt to slay bigger dragons. You all know that I said I’d never attempt a full marathon, then I did. Then I said I’d never do another, yet I did. There’s something very rewarding about stepping out of those comfort zones and achieving bigger goals. That’s not to say a marathon is next for you, but tackling this 18 miler is huge and I know you will slay it! Be careful though ….longer distances are addictive! Lol Good luck and happy running!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s really interesting that you’ve been more willing to take risks as you’ve gotten older. It’s been my observation that most people get very stuck in their routines as they age. I hope I don’t get that way!

      Right now I can’t imagine longer distances being addictive. 🙂 Unless you have a group!


  9. I can’t WAIT to hear about your race and the dragon-asses you kicked on the course!

    In all seriousness, you’re ready for this. Your training has been spot on. You *want* to run the distance which is a huge obstacle for a lot of “first” distances. Having the drive alone will make this an amazing race for you. Just keep it easy and breezy, and enjoy your time on the course.

    And then we’ll talk about that marathon… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t hold your breath on the marathon. You’re like my hair dressers — every single one has always begged me to let them straighten my hair. I love my hair & have no desire to straighten it.

      Have you noticed I can be a little bit stubborn? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Best of luck with your race this weekend! I know it’s going to be great!! Running Dopey’s Challenge was a huge dragon for me, but the feeling of accomplishment after was like none other!

    Liked by 1 person

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