I have a weird relationship with running. I hate running. No, literally I hate running. Or maybe I hate the idea of running! Either way, the thought of running causes my body to begin to ache. When I started writing this post, my legs started throbbing and my lower back began to ache! Well, if you hate it so much then why do it? Well, it’s a requirement for my job. Every year, we have to run a physical fitness test. One of the events is a 3-mile run. You would think after running for over 18 years I would enjoy it immensely but that’s not the case.
My Running Journey
My relationship with running began in my senior year of High school. That’s when I decided to start my professional football career. My career in football was very short-lived. I kind of sucked! During football camp, the most we ran in one session was one mile. It wasn’t until I joined the Marine Corps in 2002 that I began running all the time.
In my teens and early 20s, running was difficult but it wasn’t the end of the world. Now that I’m in my mid-30s, everything hurts. Stuff hurts before I even go out for a run. Stretching on a daily basis is now a requirement. Proper rest is now the difference between partial and full-body recovery. When I was in my early 20s, I could go out drinking all night and then wake up the next day and run 3 miles with no issues. Now I need to stretch for an hour before I run sober! But I love how I feel after I complete a run!
After completing a run, I feel accomplished! I feel like I can take on the world. Also, I feel like I want to do it again and again as if I’m tapping into some unleashed superpower. Running makes me feel like the brownie and Dominos pizza I just ate is not in control of my lack of dietary discipline. I’m assuming the dopamine that is released during a run is one of the reasons I keep running. I’m sure it is also the reason I signed up for my first Marathon this year.
My First Marathon
This year, I signed up for my first Marine Corps Marathon(MCM). That’s 26.2 miles of pain and misery and I paid money to do it! What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking and that’s the problem. I definitely wasn’t thinking about running a marathon that’s for sure. Okay, maybe I thought about it a little bit. My friend Bella really convinced me to run it though. Once the decision was made, I was determined to train for it. To date, I haven’t followed a structured running regime. My method for Marathon training was to just run until I die. Not literally but I would push myself further with each run. I also incorporated long-distance bike riding and strength training in my regiment in order to switch my training up because running can get boring.
In preparation for this marathon which is scheduled for October 25th, 2020, I decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon 17.75k. This is roughly 11.03 miles. I ran it back in March, virtually due to concerns over COVID-19 and social distancing requirements. That run was challenging and I walked often and still made the time requirements for a finishing medal. The MCM will be challenging, I’ve never run over 13 miles in one session. I’m going to die. I do now that completing this challenge will be mentally rewarding. We place so many barriers in our own way throughout life. Completing something as challenging as a marathon will reinforce to your brain that there is nothing that you can’t achieve as long as you’re willing to put forth the effort!
Putting Forth The Effort
It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of life even though you are not being fulfilled. You know the cycle of life; Work, come home, eat, sleep, and repeat. I have caught myself stuck in this cycle due to the sense of security it provides. Meaning, why chase a dream when this job that lacks fulfillment will ensure you have a roof over your head and that your family is fed. Security takes precedence over your happiness. Completing challenges such as a marathon makes you feel like you can complete any challenging task life may throw at you.
I don’t need to be the fastest marathon runner in the world. I just want to build the mental capacity to complete the run. I truly believe that running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical!
Many people lose battles in life before they start. They lose these battles by saying they can’t do something. I can’t run a marathon! I can’t start my own business! I can’t lose weight! The laundry list of “cants” can go on forever. We do this to ourselves! I’m guilty of it as well. Self-doubt has prevented me from doing a lot of things in life. As I get closer to retirement, for military standards, I am more inclined to not allow self-doubt to prevent me from pursuing things I want to accomplish. The boost of self-confidence that is gained every time I go on a run is one of the reasons I love running.
My Love-Hate Relationship With Running
I love what running does for my self-confidence and overall fitness. What do I hate about running? I don’t like the fact that my run time in the Marine Corps determines my fate in the military. I enjoy running but not when there is a catch to it such as you might lose your career! I don’t think I really hate it, I just don’t like the idea of it. For instance, the idea of waking up early in the morning just to put my body through physical pain is not appealing to me. But getting unhealthily heavy doesn’t appeal to me either.
Oftentimes I will eat fast food and feel like shit afterward, mainly because I didn’t get a run on that day. I automatically equate eating McDonald’s with waking up 200 pounds heavier. I don’t know if it’s mental but sometimes I immediately feel like I’ve gained weight after eating fast food. Running helps me not feel that way. Running constantly actually makes me want to make healthier decisions when it comes to food consumption.
Although I have a love-hate relationship with running I don’t foresee giving it up anytime soon. If anything I envision my relationship with running growing in the future when it’s not required to keep my job. Here are some resources that may assist you in your running journey: