A running club with weekly Group Runs in Aurora, IL., Montgomery, IL. and Oswego, IL.
“But I don’t want to go!”
The Illinois marathon is in 5 weeks. As part of my training, I’m running what seems like all of the time. Running doesn’t always seem like the greatest idea. It’s not like eating potato chips and watching reruns of The Golden Girls. Like a bad blind date, running has makes me want to sit on the couch eating ice cream and not come out until Oprah becomes president. But I’m supposed to love running, right? Now twenty seconds into a long run, I want to pack up the drumsticks and go home. How in the h-e-double hockey stick was I going to complete 26.2 miles?
When I started running again after my residency, I hadn’t stepped foot in a gym in ages. I thought “What business do I have running? I look like a chicken nugget. I don’t have any cute workout clothes. I can’t run longer than 28 seconds. Do I really have time for this? People will be LOOKING AT ME!” 3 miles seemed impossible. I put one foot in front of the other, slowly, I did 3 miles. I worked my way to 5 miles. I started adding mileage, week by week. I ran with friends or solo, and got the job done, ugly sweaty face and all. Three miles became 5, then 10, a half marathon, which lead to marathon training. My weekly mileage has seemingly been increasing exponentially.
People may tell you that running is a spiritual experience, a stress relieving panacea of awesomeness that can solve all of your problems if we just get out there and run. Tell that to my quads at mile 18. At least that’s what my brain says. The longer the run, the longer the slew of “reasons to stop” clog my thoughts. I’m tired and hungry. Mother Nature must be a bowler and not a runner because spring has not sprung yet. I am bombarded with “are we done yet/my legs hurt/why did you decide to do this/it’s cold and windy-go home/who do you think you are trying to run XX miles/when are the Golden Girls on next.” I had to figure out how to get past the funk (and Sophia Petrillo) and take control.
Scott Jurek says “sometimes you just do things.” I talk to myself, sometimes out loud. I tell myself to keep going. The trail doesn’t care what crazy things you do or say to keep moving. The last race I did was super hilly. Boyana would shout “you can run this hill” even though I really didn’t want to. My legs were ouchy, and the187th hill had taken my soul. With each hill, I told myself it’s just a hill. I counted backwards from 8 until I was at the top. To break up a long run, when I feel my energy wane, I set a marker ahead of me, and say if I can just get to that tree, I’ll be fine. Instead of running by mileage, I run by time. I repeat to myself “I compete against myself, no others” and “I will make this one count.” I bring my iPod and listen to Bach or Vivaldi. I tell myself that pain is temporary. I’ve cried, screamed, puked, giggled, sang, and fist pumped my way to the end of a run. You are right, Scott Jurek. Sometimes you just do things.
I used to think I was a machine, that I could put my feelings and thoughts on hold. I can’t. I’m human (I keep saying that don’t I). I will run through the negative to get to the positive. I’m going to just keep doing things.