I hate running.
There, now that that’s out of the way. I like running shorter distances, 400m, 200m, etc. (I wonder if that has something to do with CrossFit WODs…hmmm…) but running long distances was never my thing. In P.E. class, the mile test was the most daunting thing I did and I never did it without stopping. So what was I thinking when I signed up for a full marathon? Not entirely sure…but I’m pretty sure alcohol was involved.
Let’s go back.
The idea of long distance running didn’t appeal, but the idea of accomplishing something that I never thought possible (in fact that lots of people never get to do) was very interesting. A close friend who was very into half-marathons convinced me to try one; just a simple local one and he would help me train. Sure. What could go wrong? First, he was already in “running shape” and much, much faster. So his version of “training together” was pushing each other via the Nike running app. Great…
Well the idea of accomplishing something I started got me through it. It hurt, I felt terrible but I did it in 1:59. Not too shabby. At this point, I wondered “could I do it faster? could I finish and actually feel….good?!?” So Disneyland called, and I answered. Better training, better diet and better shoes led to a PR of 1:43! Woohoo!
Fast forward a couple years and I find myself sitting in a corral waiting for the start of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon, asking my training partner “Why are we doing this again?” 26.4 miles is no joke. This was actually a product of a couple things. First, considering my extensive running background, it was a personal challenge or “bucket-list” goal to accomplish something like this. But beyond just the race, the training challenge was like a huge hurdle as it would be done in winter, early mornings, long running session around the city and cities. Second, it was peer pressure and the fact that 7 friends along with my understanding & loving wife made the trip with us. In fact, 4 of us ran the full, 2 ran the half & the others were moral supporters. Good pressure to have!
As we started, the adrenaline pushed us to set a good pace. Through the first few miles the sights & sounds of the Disney production carried us onward through the Magic Kingdom, the raceway, Animal Kingdom, ESPN, Hollywood Studios, the Boardwalk, and finally EPCOT. When this whole thing started, I knew Disney was the only race I’d be able to do 26.4 miles at and now that it’s done, I know it was the right choice. Yes, it costs a LOT, but 4:33 later, I had done it with a smile on my face.
I won’t lie, there were injuries to battle, pain in the thighs, knees and ankles, but there was also a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Here’s some thoughts if this is your idea of a good time:
- Give yourself time. Don’t rush through a training schedule or impose time limits. Enjoy it otherwise the stress will become more predominant than the goal. Some days the miles will take longer to roll over; some days you don’t feel it. But don’t let it be because you didn’t plan ahead
- Expect injury and discomfort. No matter how many books you read about avoiding injury or pain, it will happen. The amount of miles you log in training ensure that. Just listen to your body and slow down, rest, and recover. “Consistent” isn’t just a speed or a distance, is the regularity and long breaks for recovery & healing are worse than a day here or there.
- Smile. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to run when you’re smiling, laughing or just enjoying the journey.
- Train with someone. I joked about it earlier, but it helps. Having someone who expects you to show up to train or keeps you motivated with conversation, jokes, or whatever can really break up the monotony of the miles. Even if they’re only with you for 2, 4, or 10 once a week or twice, it helps.
I still hate running. But I love that I’ve done it.
Is running your thing? What helps you keep going? Leave a comment…