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Marathon Running: So Unlike Me

Posted Sep 11 2009 2:04pm
In my little hiatus from marathon training (I run just 3-4 times a week, 2-3 miles at a time, no more), I got to thinking how marathon running is so unlike me, and yet I got into pretty hard core.

It really IS very unlike me. I am that person in line (no, I do not mean bread lines in Soviet Russia, just a regular, a very short American line, say, in a bank) who is the first one to lean on the wall or straight up sit on the floor because, goshdarnit, my legs hurt, and all these old people who keep standing might as well suck it. I have absolutely no patience when it comes to doing the same thing for a long period of time, and I'm largely driven by pursuing comfort in my life and taking things easy. As a kid, I couldn't sit straight at a desk in school like all my other classmates, and I always got in trouble for that. I was a straight A student in all my classes, but my grade for "behavior" was always suffering (yeah, they grade your behavior in Russia, haha!). And now, as an adult, I notice that when it comes to enduring pain (say, in instances where I feel under pressure or have to make a hard decision), my first instinct is to find an escape. A lot of good that I accomplished in my life is really due to sticking with things, persevering, and enduring, but it definitely is a learned skill for me.

So, it baffles me how it is that you can learn to perservere, to stick with things. And, I suppose, the answer is having a strong DRIVE. A resounding "YES" to the "do I want to do this?" question. In fact, a resounding "YES" that's there without the question asked. Just your drive, desire, want, essense.

Amazing, isn't it? A new outlook on the ever so old saying that to get something or somewhere, you just need to really want it. (Of course, the caveat is that you also have to really work for it... but then the saying wouldn't be so short and sweet. It's like saying "hey, life is shit" when you are trying to encourage someone going through a hard time. But I so digress.)

So, if you want something, if something feels really right, you can overcome your inherent "drawbacks" without even noticing you are doing it. I am not about sticking with things by nature. But I've gotten so far with marathon running, it's really quite incredible. And marathon running is so much about sticking with things, after all. First of all, you stick with your goal... for months. Then, you stick with the training plan. You change how you eat, how you sleep, how you dress, and who you are hanging out with. It's a commitment, to say the least.

I've got quite a few commitments going on in my life, and I'd say everything I've learned about patience and endurance while training for and running marathons definitely rubbed off. I can't wait until I'm ready for another one ;)
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