This morning I went to the gym for the first time in a little less than a week and a half. It was rough. My endurance was great (I mean, it better be after marathon training for 6 months) but my whole body was just so tired. It didn’t get me down though. I know that I just put major effort into something, and the fact that my body is exhausted from it kind of makes me feel strangely bad ass? It’s hard to explain.
I think every one should run a marathon. I thought this before I even ran the marathon, while I was training. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it is so much more than a physical feat. In fact, that’s one of the last things I got out of it. It’s really the mental feat. It’s the ultimate exercise in self confidence. I noticed it about a quarter into my training when the longest I had to run was 10 miles. The last few miles were so tough and I found myself ready to call it quits. Something happens to you in the last few miles of any long run. You’re either going to stop, get in an uber and lick your wounds, OR you’re going to find the will to keep going. More often than not, you’re going to find that will and you should.
I’ve worked through so many of my issues while out on long runs. I thought about my time in Chicago, where I started in 2013 and where I am now. I thought about what my life would be like if I made different choices, how happy I am to have made many of the choices I did, even on days when it doesn’t feel like it. I thought about my family. Where things have gone right and wrong. It’s been so cathartic, I can’t even begin to express it. I’ve found myself in tears in the middle of runs… not in like a scary, worrisome way. It felt like a release.
To get myself motivated to run, I would watch a lot of youtube. Let me be specific. I watched a lot of ultra-marathon runners on youtube. I would think – if they can run 30 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles… I can damn well run 5, 8. 15, 26.2. I found it so fascinating. These people run across entire states… across OTHER states… through deserts and extreme heat. Through mountains and snow and wind and crazy winding trails. I’m not even going to mention the snakes. (who said snakes 😟)
I’d mention these races to friends and they’d always say the same thing “those people are crazy.” I know they likely meant nothing cruel by it, but I always felt taken aback by it. Yes, of course I know that running a ridiculously long distance in not ideal weather or dangerous surroundings is… unconventional and might be a bit masochistic but – I don’t see it that way. I really see these people, marathon or ultramarathon runners as people who are truly adventurous, driven and are looking to ease something inside. They have something to prove, but they only really want to prove it to themselves. I relate to them.
If you’re similar. If you have an itch inside you’re hungry to scratch, I think you can relate too. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps it’s not a marathon that every one should accomplish. That might just be my story. I do think you should find something that truly challenges you, that pushes you to your limits and makes you feel like a badass. Maybe it’s not the same yoga class you’ve been doing for years, maybe you do a 3 month yoga challenge. Maybe it’s not long distance running. Maybe it’s running 5 miles every day for a month. Maybe it’s not exercise at all, but it should be something that gets your heart pumping, tests your determination and brings you joy.
You won’t regret it.
Self care, self flare.