Marathon training is underway, and I’ve never been so excited.
Because this time my goal doesn’t scare me. I’m focusing more than ever on the process, what I’m doing each day.
My long run on Sunday doesn’t matter today. What matters today is the six-mile fartlek I have planned. What matters Thursday is the easy four miles and a 2,000-meter swim. And so on.
If I think about my goal, I get nervous. That’s a good thing because my goal should be tough to achieve, but having anxiety about achieving it will make the daily training a chore. Just another thing I’m going to fail at. I have failed at running more than I have failed at anything.
How to counteract that feeling? Joy.
I’m all about embracing joy these days. In my 28 years, I’ve lived too many from shame, scarcity and anxiety. It really doesn’t work.
[Here’s my lengthy blog post on the subject]
Some of these marathon workouts, and quite probably mine tonight, are going to suck. Guys, it’s hot out there. Then I’m going to be fatigued and perpetually rungry. That’s OK. I like taking on difficult tasks. But I’m taking them on with lightness and joy because I don’t need to make them any harder than they already are.
I’m writing this because I think it’s easy to forget in our big goals LIFE IS FUN! I know I have. This shit is awesome. The journey is awe-inspiring and anything but mundane.
Just today, a colleague said he had never been able to get into running because it’s boring, that he needs something to happen. Which I totally understand and am not knocking.
Running can seem mundane. Something else to check off our list.
Yet, the other night I was running and suddenly saw the red body of a white-tailed deer in front of me. I stopped. She stopped. We stared at one another for a while, and then she gathered her fawn (that I couldn’t see from where I was standing) and trotted away into a cluster of trees. This is in the middle of suburbia and mcmansions, you guys. Where nothing exciting happens. Ever. Just ask the miserable looking teenagers who hang out by Wendy’s.
As I’ve dealt with my job, laundry, cleaning my kitchen sink and vacuuming, getting in the miles for a marathon has often been another chore before I can collapse on the couch with an episode of whatever TV show I’m binging.
No longer. Running has been one of the greatest adventures of my life, and 99 percent of it is not running in one of the largest marathons in the world, or running along Lake Superior or somewhere similarly fabulous. It’s in getting out there every day. Seeing the golden sunlight on cornfields with screeching red-wing blackbirds. Smelling rain on pine trees. Feeling the frosty nip of winter wind. Trudging through a snowstorm when everyone else is watching the Super Bowl.
Running is pushing yourself when no one is looking. It’s asking something of yourself when no one else gives a shit. I mean, really, no one else cares as much as I do about how I do; the good folks in my life just want to see me happy.
Isn’t all of that awesome? The stuff I get to do is so cool!
In that spirit, I’m not sharing my goal for the Marine Corps Marathon. I will share, however, the process and the joy of getting there.