Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Marathon-induced Perspective

It’s been a little over two weeks since the marathon. I’m walking normally (I was previously walking like Edgar, the farmer taken over by aliens in Men in Black) and have some much needed perspective. I've also signed up to run another marathon this fall. Which I’ve been told is borderline insane.

Each time someone throws around the word “crazy” or says they don’t know why (or how) people run marathons, I smile. Because somewhere in there, I believe they do understand. And I realize that all the best things in this world are, in fact, just a bit crazy.

Don’t get me wrong: I totally get how obnoxious runners can be to non-runners.  I really, really get it.
But I also know that running is has the power to transform. It’s made me someone else. Someone who understands that LIFE is about showing up and doing the work, no matter how broken you are as a human. And RUNNING? It’s about the same thing: waking up early to do the work, when every part of you just wants to crawl back in your warm bed and sleep for just a bit longer.

Running a marathon is the pinnacle of that experience. It tests you in every way possible—but it mostly calls upon your mental strength. It makes you question everything you know about yourself in the most painful of ways. Which is probably why I love it so much.

Here’s the truth: marathons make you want to give up. Throw in the towel. Stop what you're doing because for crying out loud this is so f*&^$%^ painful and why did I want to do this again?

It hurts, a marathon. It makes your legs and body very tired. And around mile 22, you completely forget why you began your journey in the first place. A lot of people give up at this point, physically and mentally—it’s what every cell in your body wants you to do. Just walk, your legs say. Let’s just stop this insanity, your mind pleads.

This is the uncomfortable part—the place where the magic happens. The part where the clich├ęs kick in: Finish strong. You got this. Just keep going.

You don’t train for a marathon thinking it will be easy, but you don't necessary have a complete grasp of the fact that it will try to break you. You can't wrap your head around that really, so you don’t. But that’s what it does. And it’s awful and amazing and all the things you expect it to be.

So WHY? Why do something that hurts so much and is so hard when you could just choose NOT to do it? I don’t know. Seriously, I have no idea. But much like life, it prompts further questioning.

Why not spend your whole life avoiding pain? Why not live a perfectly comfortable life and never take a chance? It would be easier that way, wouldn't it? Uh yeah, it would. But that’s pretty dumb. Also it’s completely unrealistic.

Because you can never run fast enough from reality, that’s why. Plenty of people try, sure. But I don't know anyone who has succeeded. So, I keep running. I run because I still haven't figured it all out just yet. And it’s the only place where I feel close enough to having (almost) all of the answers.

"Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you. It is meant to, and it couldn't do it better. Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition."- Florida Scott-Maxwell


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