(not so fun fact: this is a revised post to the original. i spent over an hour writing what i felt was a pretty good entry, only to have it not save when i went to post. now having to re-write... ugh)
"Running is not fun. It's too hard to be fun". ~Dean Karnazes
there are days when i definitely agree with dean. i do not always find running to be fun. there are days when its easier than others but all in all running is hard. its hard on our bodies. its hard on our minds. we beat ourselves up in so many ways. so why do we continue doing it? day after day we hit the pavement or treadmill for different reasons. weight loss. upcoming race. mental therapy. but should it be easy? is it fun?
an online dictionary defines "fun" as:
1. something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
hmmm, provides amusement huh? the only amusement i typically find on a run is if (when) i trip or fall (yes, this happens more often than you might think). and if a run is going to be described with the same "fun" as a picnic, i would hope there would be more snacks available on my run.
now three months into my 2010 resolution of running a road race every month, ive really started thinking about why i run. why am i doing this? my whole body aches. my toenails are barely hanging on. i have blisters. im tired. (clearly i complain). im reading a book right now by ultrarunner Dean Karnazes, "50/50" (Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons In 50 Days- And How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance). this man is incredible (follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/DeanKarnazes) and could literally probably motivate a slug. in no way do i believe that i could even run 50 marathons in my lifetime, let alone back to back to back... (to back... times 50 days) but if there was anyone who could get you to try, it would be Dean.
this one passage from the book comes in the chapter where he ran the marathon in seattle, washington. this whole book is full of motivating passages (and i HIGHLY recommend this read to anyone, runner or not) but this one has stuck with me and i want to share:
"Running teaches you that there's a difference between working hard and feeling bad. Consumer culture tries to teach us otherwise. How many television commercials talk about "making life easier"? If everything you knew about life came from TV, your goal would be to live the easiest life you possibly could. You would believe that the only good feelings are sensual pleasures such as the taste of a good soft drink and the fun of driving an expensive car and lying on the beach.
But it's just not true. Challenging and testing your mind and body, even to the point of exhaustion, failure, and breakdown, can feel as wonderful as anything else life has to offer. I suppose the enjoyment of hard work is more of an acquired taste than the taste for pleasure and fun, but once you've acquired it, you're blessed with more ways to feel good, and life is better. Harder and better." ("50/50" by Dean Karnazes)
we live in a world where things are made to be easier. home delivery. internet. drive through. microwave. instant everything. but can you go out and run an 18 mile training run in less than a couple of hours? not if youre just an average runner like myself. most days i feel like i dont have enough hours in the day to just do everyday things, let alone go out and just run. so what is on my mind while im out there? the house is a mess. theres so much laundry i should be doing right now. i need to go get groceries.
so. much. negativity.
im gonna tell you something that might blow your mind... my life is NOT tough. (phew. glad i got that off my chest). i have a beating heart. oxygen in my lungs. shoes on my feet. heat in my apartment. a job. money in my bank account. family and friends who love me. for someone who probably has more than i am even thankful for, i sure think a lot of negative thoughts. and most of those come out when im all alone, out on the road.
running challenges us all in different ways. it is truly a selfish act. no one else is going to benefit from your run, whether it be struggling through just one mile or a three hour weekend training run. so why not allow it to help YOU. think positive. challenge yourself. i really think running can be fun if you make it fun for yourself. be thankful you can be out there putting one foot in front of the other. think about the stresses in your life, but think about them in a way that is encouraging and positive, rather than stressful and negative. im glad i have laundry because that means i have clothes to wear. my house might be a mess but i have a house and people that live in it to mess it up. i know those might sound really lame but i personally think im way too negative on my runs and it ultimately affects my overall running experience.
if i have learned anything over the past few months of training and races, its that running is not easy. and most days, its not fun. but the more i run, the harder i train, the easier it gets. and that just allows me to work harder to get faster, to run farther. the challenges never end unless you sit back and allow it to be easy. and to me, easy is boring.