Everything hurts. I ran the Capital City River Run 1/2 Marathon yesterday morning and my prize today is pain in every joint of my body. Running is a funny thing because I make fun of it often, and I feel truly entitled to this since I ran track and cross country in college, yet I am the person I am making fun of. Why run? Running should be reserved for the reason of chasing after a ball — you take the ball away and you’re still running…I don’t get it. Track is even worse: you’re running in circles! Running just brings pain – both during and after! Yet I run to this day. Please help me.
I ran in Lansing’s half marathon yesterday on somewhat of a whim. Prior to this, I’ve never ran more than 10 miles (I was an 800m runner in track). If the 1/2 marathon didn’t pass directly by my house, I likely would not have done it, but it lured me in. I was bracing for the worst. To my pleasant surprise, I had a great time (yes I make fun of myself, even in saying this… how can pain for hours be ‘a great time’??? I have issues).
I discovered that the biggest difference of running for distance is that I’m forced to run slow so it’s a lot easier on my cardio — the downside of it is that it burns my feet and knees like the dickens, but the upside is my lungs and brain feel great and so I can focus on breathing fresh air and enjoying a beautiful day. I can block out joint pain, but can’t block out cardio pain–which I experience through the entire duration of a 5K or under.
I ran next to the 8 minute mile pacer for the first 10 miles — he was dressed as a cowboy, holding a toy horse and everything. At 10 miles, I figured I’d die, but as I got closer to it, I felt good and so figured I’d give it a shot and take off. I ran my last two miles at 7 minutes each, which felt great passing everyone staggering to finish. I finished 173rd out of 1600+ runners with a time of 1:40:58, which I felt really good about, and was a good thing because I had to get to Crossroads to preach by 11:00am!
I finished the race at 10:10am and that 50 minutes, which seemed like an eternity of time to eat/relax, shower, and get to church, when I budgeted my time out beforehand, seemed like only a few moments once I finished. It was a bit of a downer to not be able to enjoy the post-race festivities, especially the free beer from Michigan Brewing Company, but the good news is with my burning feet and all, I was able to shower and get to Crossroads with 8 minutes to spare!
So for those trying to understand why people run, and to remind myself (trying to convince myself I’m not crazy)… I run for several reasons. At times you get a rush. I got two rushes in my half marathon–one was towards the end of the first mile, feeling a sense of accomplishment of being in the moment of thousands of runners doing this event that not many people do–and the second was when I ran my last three miles at a fast pace. These are physiological rushes that almost move me tears, and that put a big smile on my face. The last time I had a rush like that during a race was when I finished my first swim-leg of my first triathlon a few years ago. Running brings satisfaction to people: I did this and everyone on their couch right now did not. Related to this is competition–the main reason I ran track was for the competition–it is fun to be good at something, even if it as seemingly pointless as running in circles. And it’s something you can compete with yourself in, like golf, it doesn’t matter how bad you are compared to others, you can always compete against your most recent score/time. As an adult, the main reason I sign up for races is because it forces me to workout, because there’s a date on the calendar I’m training for–and I’ve simply found that running is the most convenient way of working out there is: I can leave from my house and be back in 30 minutes and have a decent workout, and be on with my day.
So call me crazy, I still will, but I will enjoy the experience.