In 2013, I participated in my first full 42.2 KM marathon and finished the race in over five hours. I had stumbled into marathon running, had just lost my closest cousin, and was looking for something to distract me from the grief. It’s been ten years since I ran that race, and I have never looked back. I have run over 20+ marathons in numerous cities, I ran six full marathons in 2022, and I am running across the ten Canadian provinces in 2023 (6 done, 4 to go).
Most people don’t give me a puzzling look when I talk about my passion for running, my training regimen and the amount of effort I put into running these multiple marathons consistently. For me, It is not about the run. I run because I have learned from running all I knew in my 20+ years of formal schooling. How you do one thing is how you do almost everything. The training routine I need to follow to qualify for the Boston Marathon is the same commitment required to get anything off the ground. Running these marathons has taught me many life lessons and skills necessary to navigate the vicissitudes of life. Running is a form of therapy as I meditate on ideas and explore ways to get things done.
Running has taught me the most about the value of getting and staying prepared, self-pacing, endurance, commitment, self-discipline and the follow-through required to accomplish anything worthwhile.
The rewards are few and far from guaranteed. When you run around an oval track, or down an empty road, you have no real destination. At least, none that can fully justify the effort. The act itself becomes the destination. It’s not just that there’s no finish line; it’s that you define the finish line. Whatever pleasures or gains you derive from the act of running, you must find them within. It’s all in how you frame it, how you sell it to yourself.
Long-Distance Running – Crossing the Pain Barrier
The first thing I knew I was good at, and something that I had taught myself as a teenage schoolboy, was long-distance running. Once through the pain barrier, I found I had the determination, or sheer bloody mindedness, to keep on running. Running, early in the morning or late at night, through that hauntingly beautiful landscape proved to be more than a ritual challenge. It was an escape from school, allowing me to think that anything and everything was possible.
Long-distance running allowed me the freedom to roam the wilds of Norfolk while depending on no one but myself. Running also taught me to overcome the pain barrier: when everyone else feels exhausted, that is the opportunity to accelerate, whatever the pain, and win the race. Stamina and determination along with creativity are needed in overcoming seemingly impossible difficulties in research and other challenges in life.
The Marathon Called Life
Think about the marathon runner. She has to go 26.2 miles, but is she thinking about the finish line when the race starts? No. That’s too daunting. She’s thinking about her pacing for the first mile. She’s planning out when she wants to grab water or eat a gel pack. Thinking about all 26.2 miles is overwhelming. Thinking about the next few steps is manageable, and it works whether you’re running a race, playing for a spot in the Super Bowl, or trying to save your own life in space.
ANYONE who runs a marathon will tell you that miles twenty to twenty-six are the hardest. AND ANYONE who quits running at mile twenty-two will tell you that they immediately felt better—and IT’S TRUE. But days later when they read about the people who finished ahead of them—who kept running—they will have instant regret.
Our challenge every day is to ignore the choice that makes us feel better now so we can make the choice that can help sustain us. Marathon runners tend not to quit on mile twenty-two—even though they would feel much, much better in the moment—because they’ve stacked up choices that prioritize finishing that freaking race. In many cases, they’ve adjusted their diets, their sleep schedules, their work schedules. That can’t all be for nothing, so they keep running.
As a high schooler, I ran because I didn’t like the competition of team sports, and I wasn’t very good at them anyway. But running track and cross-country made sense to me. The challenge was endless. Each day that I laced up my shoes, I went up against the only competitor I’ve ever really enjoyed beating: myself. As a college student, I raced through school. Columbia is known for its extensive core curriculum that makes it challenging to finish early, but I got through it in less than three years. I wasn’t doing much running those days, but I was moving as fast as I possibly could.
When you’re running a marathon, the worst thing you can do is start too fast and run out of energy early. So you work on two things during training: finding a steady pace that you can hold for almost the entire race and learning to save up some of your energy so you can surge for your final twenty-eight minutes.
- Daily Calm with Tamara Levitt – World Peace
- When love is the foundation, we see ourselves reflected in the eyes of others. Love teaches us to be kinder and softer; it guides our actions so that we become fair and compassionate.
Daily Jay with Jay Shetty -The Thief
- When you long for something that someone else possesses, search your own pocket first before looking outside
- 10x your TIME. 10x your MONEY. 10x your RELATIONSHIPS.
All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.