When I was training for my first marathon two years ago, my program fell apart toward the end and I was feeling overwhelmed at the magnitude of what I was attempting. In the midst of a crisis of confidence that caused me to temporarily consider withdrawing my registration, I examined my motivations and wrote a blog post about why I am engaged in the sport. I’d like to review a portion of that content by posting it again.
I’m running for health. I’m trying to improve my cardiovascular system, strengthen my muscles, and increase my endurance. I’ve reached an age at which I’m experiencing a decline in my physical abilities, and I’m not going to go along with the aging process without putting up a fight. A major fight. Like, I can’t be old yet if I can still run a marathon, right? And taking responsible care of myself is a first step toward caring for other people and the wider world. Regular vigorous exercise of a form that is physically appropriate for me is a way of establishing right relations with everyone around me.
I’m running for connection. I am part of the running community, and am part of a group of people that are striving to do something amazing, running a marathon. I am part of the outdoors and at one with nature. I notice the world around me, the feel of the weather, and the change of the seasons. I pay attention to my body, feeling the exertion, rhythm, pain, and recovery of training and racing.
I’m running for achievement. When I became a runner, I felt a sense of accomplishment for several years by running 5K races. Then I upped the game for several more years by running mini-marathons. While those will always remain significant achievements and I will always be proud, I now have a goal that seems almost impossible, and I intend to reach it anyways. A marathon is widely recognized as one of the biggest physical and mental challenges that mere mortals attempt, and requires a huge amount of commitment and perseverance to even make a credible attempt. Successfully completing a marathon places a runner into an elite group. And if I can run a marathon, then I know that I can do almost anything.
I’m running for transformation. While I run, I become more centered and grounded, regaining perspective in my life. After a run, I can clear my head and focus on what’s important. Running helps me find that balance between the various parts of my life, and helps relieve the stresses that come with conflicts and hardships. And whether there exists the so-called runner’s high, the production of endorphins, or just the simple joy of running, I certainly experience an elevation of my mood and a restoration of optimism after a really good run. In other words, I find running good for my soul.
As for this, my current program in anticipation of a second marathon, it was going so incredibly well for so long. I was beginning to feel that something amazing was possible. I still haven’t figured out what happened to my left knee last weekend during what was supposed to be an intense twenty mile long run, but that something didn’t go away this week. I’m still not going to panic, and hopefully a complete pause of training for a week or two will let me heal enough to get through the big event.
** 17-Oct-2017, 3.1 miles, 11.5 minutes per mile, on a treadmill. Avoiding serious training in order to recover from the injury.
** 19-Oct-2017, 3.1 miles, 10.4 minutes per mile, on a treadmill. Adding a little bit of intensity to build my confidence after the injury.
** 21-Oct-2017, 11.20 miles, 11:06 minutes per mile. From running deck in Broad Ripple south on the Monon Trail, west on 38th St, north on Washington St and College Ave, west through Warfleigh neighborhood, south on Meridian St, west on 54th St, and northeast on the Central Canal Towpath to running deck, with Indy Runners. Weather was 52 to 64 F and sunny. Nutrition was Clif bar pre-run, copious Sportade drink at mile 6 and again at mile 9, and two Quaker Chewy Granola bars post-run. The route matched the Monumental Marathon course from about miles nine to sixteen. Ran first ten miles at an average pace of 10.57 minutes per mile, which was the target pace, and felt good, then injured (re-injured? still injured?) left knee at the end of mile 10. Tried to alternate walking and running for a mile before turning off my running watch and quitting for the day.
Total distance this week, 17.4 miles. Music of the week, Ash by Ibeyi.