February 21 2018
What does it mean when you shed happy tears while crossing a finish line? A behavioral analyst weighs in.
Published with permission from Running With SD Mom
In response to all those articles that ever bashed running, this post will be the nice feel-good antidote. And if there is anything I can say about this running community I have grown to love, it is that they are the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met.
1. Oprah And Completion Vs. Competition
I think Oprah is fantastic for bringing running (and reading for that matter) to the masses. She had women everywhere looking at each other, thinking, Oprah did it, so can I!
The idea that completing a marathon without winning or at Olympic record speed is somehow not good enough is crap! How is completing 26.2 miles not the most amazing thing in the world? Or at least one of the most? Seriously people…if I said your nearest grocery store is 26.2 miles away, wouldn’t you grumble about it? Completion is huge!
For me, I want to run a marathon to prove to myself that I can and will complete it. I don’t care if I am the fastest or the slowest. My only goal is to cross the finish line on my own two feet.
2. The Me-Me-Me Show
Yes—I love taking pictures of my workouts. I like taking pictures of my beautiful city and my Garmin and my shoes and my Spandits and my visors and my Orange Mud pack and my beautiful BRFs and my socks and the sunrise and the sunset. And you know what? Most of you do too! And you know why? Because it makes it real. Because it allows you to think, just like Oprah, that you can do it too!
And you know why else? I do it for me! I want to document every second of the sport that has given me new life. I want to look back at these pictures and say, “Hey, I did 18.3 miles that day!” These pictures are like a scrapbook of the best me, and why not share it with the world? Perhaps someone will look at them and say, “Maybe I can run a 5K!”
And to call me a “hobby marathoner” is a slap in the face. I have two beautiful children, a wonderful husband, an amazing full-time (outside the home) career, but I make time. I work my ass off every week to fit my runs in. I am proud of my marathon training! It is a part of my identity!
Wrong! For every single person who has always believed in me, I have to prove them right. And for every single person who thought this would be a passing fad, I have to prove them wrong. The marathon is a beast, and I want to conquer it. Mentally and physically, it will be one of the toughest challenges I will face. Every second of self doubt I have had throughout this training will be silenced once and for all after crossing that finish line.
4. Knees And Heart
Of course running is good for your heart. It is cardio right? I am no doctor and I am no scientist but I do know the effects it has had on me, both mentally and physically. I feel that at the ripe old age of 37, I am in the best shape of my life. No doubt. Mentally I am calmer and more centered. Physically, I have muscles in places you wouldn’t believe. That’s not to say I never have soreness or pain. We know that’s not true but it could be worse.
A large observational study involving data from more than 55,000 adults found that runners had a significantly reduced risk of death from all causes and from cardiovascular events compared to non-runners.
And as far as the knees, your guess is as good as mine. This article says no, it may even be beneficial.
Wouldn’t you want to run now when you are in the peak of fitness to ensure you can cross that finish line? Why wait? Things change. Life changes. Seize the day and all of that!
It was my intention to check running a marathon off my bucket life before I turned 40, but I took an honest look at myself and said, “I am as ready as I will ever be!” So I decided to pull the trigger three years early. Who knows—maybe the marathon is the moderation. Maybe I have an ultra in the future. What would you say to me then?
If you train smart and run smart now, you can run for many, many years and many, many more miles!
So my five reasons for deciding to run a marathon are completion, the me-me-me show, proving everything right or wrong, for me knees and heart and to seize the day!