Running has been tough for me since the beginning. For 17 years, I have failed again and again and again. And then I failed some more.
But I keep coming back.
On Saturday, I failed again. My goddamn asthma started haunting me at mile 2.5 of a half marathon and at mile 3.5, I said, “Fuck this. I have struggled through these runs too many times, and I am simply not up for this today.”
I quit at the mile 5 aid station and got a ride back in the SAG wagon. I promptly drank way too much good beer and contemplated taking a month off running.
I’m glad I did quit; I was starting to get dizzy, and my chest was incredibly inflamed the next day. Continuing forward may have made it much more difficult for me to recover.
On Sunday, despite my hangover, I thought about how I can’t wait until my allergy season is over so I can start training for the Marine Corps Marathon.
This makes no sense, folks. But love doesn’t really make sense.
This kind of failure is the shit sandwich (see: Mark Manson) I am willing to eat. I believe if I keep showing up that I’ll find what I’m looking for: that moment of transcendence in a magical race. It’s happened to me three times in 17 years of running:
High school 4×400-meter relay in 2005
The Bayshore Half Marathon in 2013
The Chicago Marathon in 2014
All races were personal records, and they were also moments where all the hard work and effort I put forward for years came together in a magical moment where I showed myself what I am capable of.
And what I really love about running is the process. I don’t race often; I prefer to race big. I love the training, day-in and day-out.
So when I can reliably breathe again, I’ll start running and training. I’ll struggle on hot, humid days and l’ll have more shitty workouts and I’ll collapse on my couch after long runs and I’ll have never-ending runger and I will be grateful for every single moment.
Because running is magic.