A bit of labor

For many people, running didn’t start out as fun. It started out as a lot of hard work, and for those who took up distance running later in life, as a means to do something healthy. But for us who keep going with it, running turned to fun.

That doesn’t mean every workout is fun though. And often, that runner’s high we cherish, can become more and more elusive the longer we’re at it.

What was once a regular feeling for me seems to be less and less frequent, but I still love to run. It’s an addiction and the days I go without a run seems incomplete, even if I don’t reach that runner’s high.

A good friend and I were exchanging emails this weekend. He’s busy grinding away at work, I’ve been focused on catching up on things around my house – chores long neglected this summer – and putting in some workouts.

We were exchanging thoughts on last week’s 24-hour adventure race, and Tim had talked to the race director, Andy, who said: “Crossing the finish line is just a moment of many moments in an Adventure Race. Rarely does one moment define the scope of the challenge.” Here’s a link to the race report and another for photos.

A profound and true statement. As runners, we may feel like one moment defines us, or a race. I still remember the moment when I felt like I’d become a runner. We all have our own moments, and for me, it’s a series of moments that drive me to keep going when I don’t feel like going any further.

After 14 marathons, I sometimes question why I keep racing them. I don’t enter them to pile up numbers, or just to simply do them. I enter marathons for the arduous training, the months of inner struggle, the final 2-mile stretch of the race and the euphoric feeling afterward. Competing against myself, I love the way I feel after a marathon – that feeling that I left it all out on the course. It’s enough to fuel me to sign up for another and go at it all over again, even if the path isn’t easy.

There are things I can do better – especially when it comes to training and nutrition. I’ve tend to forgotten more than I remember when it comes to training, especially after battling injuries for months, and I could always do better with nutrition. But there’s an inherit desire to do better, push myself and capture more moments to define myself.

Despite a couple of slower marathons this year – in January I ran my slowest time in the past 10 races – I kept going, dealing with injuries and pushing through the pain while looking for answers. I’m not a whole lot closer to finding those answers, but along the way I’ve evolved. I’ve dabbled in swimming and cycling, completed a sprint triathlon (a goal I set for myself 5 years ago this month) and a 6-hour adventure race, dropped out of a 24-hour adventure race, and reevaluated my training and goals. Now I’m on the brink of making a huge decision – one that will likely be life altering.

We can’t enjoy life if we’re watching it from the sidelines. That’s why, on Labor Day weekend, I’ve focused on pushing myself – swimming, biking, running – to see where it might take me next – even before I get to the starting line of next month’s Twin Cities Marathon.

One thought on “A bit of labor

  1. Well said, running is like any addiction, leading to neglect of something else in its wake. It is a delicate balance between our running life and regular life that allows us to continue. Once you find that balance, then I believe you can do anything.

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