Hi everyone! Cece here with an EXTREMELY long overdue guest post (sorry Mira). I’ll do a more in depth intro in another post, because this one feels right for the moment.
I just limped back from class and am lying on my couch watching The Office (world’s greatest television show), with one bag of ice on my left foot and another bag of ice on my right knee. I finished my second marathon yesterday and am seriously wondering to myself why I do this.
Why did I willingly pay $150 to wake up at 6:30am and run 26.2 miles? Why did spend the last three months putting training and running as my top priority? Why did I turn down Friday night drinks with friends, because I had a long training run to do the next morning? Why would I, someone who is not at all built for long endurance running, do any of this??
I asked myself these questions multiple times throughout this journey. And I’m really not quite sure I have figured it out. But, this is what I’ve come up with (for now): I love being able to strive for something outside of my norm and I love the freedom I discovered from running. Training for a marathon is something I never thought that I would do. I was an athlete all my life and played Division I soccer in college, so sports and competition has always been something I loved. But I was a goalie, and barely scraped by through most of our running fitness tests, priding myself more on my strength and quickness. On multiple occasions, I said, “I don’t see a need to run unless you’re chasing a ball”.
But then, after I graduated college, I spent a year living in Denver teaching with an AmeriCorps program called “City Year”. Denver is an incredibly active city, and I just fell into running. It’s easy to want to be outside when the Rocky Mountains are your backdrop and the air just feels a little cleaner. So, pretty early on, I signed up to run a half marathon that Spring (shout out to the Colfax Marathon!), and I spent most of the year living there running and training for that race. I found running to be a great way to explore and get to know a new city. I’ve never been a huge fan of biking, so I used running as a way to learn about my wonderful home for a year. I would map out new runs before I left, but more often than not, I would let myself just get lost.
But more than anything, for the first time, running became something other than a chore. As a soccer player, running was either used to train or as a punishment. We ran to get fitter, stronger, and faster—to be better at our sport. Or, we ran because we played poorly, were late for morning lift sessions, or because our coach caught us drinking in our locker room (yikes!). Running was no longer a means to an end. It just was. I could just run.
So I chased that feeling, and after finishing that half marathon, and moving back home to Minnesota, I signed up to run the Twin Cities marathon that fall (2015). I’ll spare the details of that decision and training regime for another blog post, and then did that same marathon again this year. I thought a lot about rerunning the race this year, as I was unsure about being able to stay compliant with my training schedule having just started graduate school, but I can now say that I am so glad I did it again. Sure, my normally 8 minute walk from the bus to class took about three times that length today, getting up this morning has never felt more painful, and I am seriously concerned about a potential stress fracture in my right foot. But, I got to reengage in the freedom from running that I first discovered two years ago in Denver. I got to enjoy running just for what it is, and not use it as a means to something else. I got to set goals, challenge myself, and push my limits, despite often feeling extremely outside of my comfort zone. And most of all, when I finished the run, I had an excuse to eat 3 huge plates of pasta, chocolate cake, and nearly half a French baguette. So, moral of the story, if anything, do it for the food. Happy running everyone! 🙂
Hopefully it won’t take me 6 months to write my next guest post!!!