Saturday, September 10, 2016

Runner's Block

This is a question that a runner gets asked by people all the time.  “Why on earth do you run?  I don’t run unless someone is chasing me.”  “I hate to run!  Why do you do it?”  Every runner has heard these and many more questions like them.  I have never thought too much about the questions until now.  I have hit a wall or a runner’s block.  My sister is a writer and she has talked about the writer’s block.  I say to her what a lot of people probably do “hang in there”  or “all you have to do is work through it”.  This seemed like a logical thing to say.  The problem is that it is crap!  Actually, the truth is that there is nothing I can say to help her.  
I am running the Marine Corp Marathon on Oct 30.  I wanted into that race so badly.  I submitted my name to the lottery and got in.  I was so excited.  I started training and then something awful happened… I hit a runner’s block!  I am not running well, I have lost my focus and I am not enjoying it.  WTF!  I am getting ready to run in this awesome race and I have no desire right now to run.  I have tried the advice that I gave my sister.  I have hung in there and tried really hard to work through it.  I have read every book I can find.  Nothing has worked.  I keep trying to figure out what is going on and then it hit me.  I have forgotten why I am running in the first place.  
Why am I running?  What about running used to make me so happy?  What am I so afraid of?  These are the questions that I have to answer.  I have to put all the bullshit aside, open up and answer those questions..and here’s the the biggest part...I have to be honest with myself.  
Flying Pig.jpg
In May 2015, I ran the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati.  This was a hard marathon for me.  What I mean is that I hurt my knee at Mile 17 and I was in major pain for the last 10 miles.  My knee was swollen and yelling at me to stop.  I discovered that I could push myself farther than I ever thought possible.  I didn’t finish in a great time, but when I crossed that finish line I had become a different person.  I came up with a motto for myself after that race… “If I can make it through Mile 22, I can make it through anything.”  I made it through all 26.2 miles!   Flying pig 2.jpg     My girlfriend even gave me a ring that says Mile Twenty Two on it.  I never take it off.  Now, I return to one of my questions.  “What am I so afraid of?”  This won’t be my first marathon… It can’t get much worse… I know I can do it.  After a lot of soul searching, I have discovered that I am afraid of being the best I can be.  What?!  I find it scary to even think about.  I know that sounds crazy.  Why wouldn’t you want to see what your best looks like?  I don’t have a good answer for this.  I know what my failure looks like, but I don’t know what my best looks like.  I have always been an underachiever, just giving enough of myself to get by.  It scares me to lay it all out there.  It could be that I am afraid that my best is not good enough or not as good as I thought it would be.  It is safer, to me, not knowing.  I think the MCM has presented to me an opportunity to find out.  I believe that has affected me more than I thought it would
.Flying Pig 3.jpg
Here is what it comes down to…  Why did I start running?  In the beginning it was to quit smoking, but then it became about challenging myself and changing myself.   It has evolved.  Why do I run?  I want to know… I need to know.  The only way to know is to just go with what comes to my mind when I think running.  Here it goes…
When I run, it is all about me.  I have no one else depending on me but me.  There is not another person alive who judges me on my running, except me.  I guess the best way to say it is, I run to be free to be selfish.  I get to only think about me.  For a short amount a time, I get to listen to whatever I want to.  I can listen to the nastiest rap song, the loudest rock,  or the sappiest pop song (that I would never admit to listening to) and I don’t have to worry about anyone else's opinion or judgment.  When I run it is an hour a day I get to be absolutely selfish.
I run to find that person I want to be.  I run to try and catch that person, who I know is in my soul somewhere.  When I am trekking down the road, I see her and I speed up to catch her.  There are times when I catch a little bit of her and hold on tight.  Those runs are the ones I live for.  They change me a little bit.  I always think when I start a run if I will see her.  There are times when she is way too fast and crafty for me.  I believe that those times have discouraged me and I committed an awful sin.  I let that get in my head and take away those moments when I did catch her.  I let the negative overshadow the positive.  I let my mind think it was too hard, so i quit looking for the person I want to be.  
I run to keep myself balanced.  I often find myself so anxiety ridden that I can barely function.  I worry about things that are out of my control.  Running helps me beat that anxiety out of myself.  It is hard to run and worry at the same time.  I am not saying that I run and find all the answers.  I don’t run to find answers.  I never have.  I run to quiet the questions.
Running is hard and takes a lot of mental strength and physical strength.  I can run and feel like crying because it is just so hard.  Those times are when the reasons I run and the motivation is hard to see.  The music and selfish pleasure disappear.  I feel completely raw and almost broken.  That is when I can hear God whispering in my ear. That is when I begin to feel love and comfort.  All the rest is gone and nothing else matters but what is in my ear.  
That is why I run.  

1 comment:

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. It exactly mirrors how I feel about writing so much of the time. I think what we have to come to realize is that we will never be the "person we want to be" when we come from a place of judging ourselves or feeling like we are not good enough. We have to learn to realize that we are already good enough. We are already amazing and strong. All we have to do is focus on the joy and the journey and we will become everything we need to be.

    I love you so much, and I know you can do this!