Thinking Why I Run

Why head out the door when it’s pissing rain? Why not sleep in, or maybe cozy up in a coffee shop and watch the rain come down?

I guess because I started running back in 2016 when I didn’t have much going on. It was a low point in life, career-wise. Money wise. Running was a thing I could control. It was something I could complete, and accomplish. No hiring manager, no rejection, no automated email telling me thanks, but no thanks.

I could put in the work, then sign up for a 5K, and finish it. Maybe not fast, maybe not pretty, but I showed up just like all those runners and did it.

Now I’ve run three 10 mile races. A half marathon. Then today, in NYC, I put in 10 miles over three bridges in under two hours.

Not fast, not pretty, but I was out there when the rain was coming down sideways, and the wind was pushing my ass.

I showed up for me. I made this, I planned this, I accomplished this. That’s why I keep running, even in horrible conditions, because it’s another thing I’ve accomplished.

Because I want to run a marathon someday. I want to run in Yellowstone Park. I want to run around the Grand Canyon. I want to accomplish those things someday, and I need to do this now to get there.

Actions today lead to accomplishments in the future.

The Here and Now

Earlier this week I got a little frazzled. Some work stuff, some personal stuff, some time management stuff, the usual.

I was getting another cup of coffee downstairs, ready to bound back to my computer and tackle everything, as usual.

But I stopped. And opened up the Headspace app.

I’ve been using that app for months now, to fall asleep. I’ve done a few of the basic meditation sessions. I’ve done them enough to like, “get it.” In a very rookie sort of sense.

I get it in the sense that when I’m tense, or anxious, or worried, there is no tiger leaping at my face. There are no men in suits at the door to take me away. I’m not in trouble, or in any danger.

Meditation has taught me that feelings and emotions aren’t me. I can feel them, but they’re not who I am at the moment. In the present moment I am me, and that’s it. Nothing else.

I’m no meditation expert by any stretch, and I hate that I need to remind anyone about that, but I know a little bit more today than I did six months ago.

Running the 2019 Broad Street Run

This was my second time running the 10 mile jaunt through the heart of Philadelphia, PA. The biggest 10 mile run in the United States, me and some 40,000-ish other runners who wouldn’t let a little rain spoil the fun.

Last year this was my first major distance race, after completing a few 5Ks since I began running in 2016. I ate horribly the week leading up to the race in 2018, bonked, and had to walk a few times. I was exhasuted afterwards, had to take a nap. Took a week off from doing my beloved Skull Toaster metal trivia. It was hard.

This year? Ran the entire time, no walking. My last two miles were my fastest, and didn’t even need a nap. Hell, didn’t sleep in the next day either. Knocked off five minutes from last year’s time, too.

Not gonna lie, though. It was rainy and breezy. I was cold, and standing in the corral for 40 minutes I had to pee, too. It was shoulder to shoulder, and there was no way I could leave to use a porta potty.

So the race started, and I tossed my poncho, and stopped at a porta potty about a mile down the road.

This was also my second race without a water bottle. I’ve been carrying one with me for every race, even the 5Ks, as I’m just super scared of dehydrating or whatever. But this year I relied on the water stations, and it worked out just fine.

By mile five I was feeling good. I was comfortable. I ran a very hilly 10 miler about two months prior, but hit the wall at about the 1:15 mark, mostly because all my training was just one hour runs.

So this year I made sure to sneak in some 1:30 runs. They weren’t fast, they weren’t “half marathon pace,” or anything. But they were just runs that lasted an hour and a half.

I also did some “speed runs” using the Nike Run Club app. They have a handful of guided training runs, where you run fast for a minute and a half, then slow down for a minute, and you keep going back and forth.

At about the eight mile mark I remembered that training. I remembered that running fast didn’t kill me, and I’d get to recover eventually. The pain would end. So I picked it up a bit.

And I kept it up. I had control of my breathing, and it was… comfortable. I wasn’t out of control. I felt good. I remembered that training, that it was okay for it to not feel easy because I had just run eight miles. It’s supposed to not feel awesome, but I just needed to settle in with the hurt, with the effort, and keep it moving.

I look back, and mile eight was one my slowest. I thought about just taking it easy the rest of the way. Hey, at least I didn’t walk, right? Just be happy to finish.

But mile nine for me was 9:50 pace. Then the last mile was 9:40.

Mind you, when I’m doing my training runs, just out doing my thing, pushing a 10:00 minute mile is tough for whatever reason. It’s just… ugg.

But those Nike training runs? I was pushing 9:00 miles. 8:30 pace! Just for a minute and a half, a couple of times per work out, but it was training. And it got me to 9:50 for a mile. Then 9:40 for another mile.

A whole mile. Then another one!

So yeah… it’s not fast compared to everyone else, sure. But for me, having just started in 2016? I’ll take it. For turning 43 this month? I’ll take it.

I’m cautious. I don’t want to pull something. I don’t want to get hurt. But this race showed me things. It showed me the mental side of things, that I can dig deep, think back to my training, and finish strong. Those are words and phrases that I didn’t think I’d ever be writing or talking about back in 2016, but here we are today, in 2019, and that’s where I’m at.

And I’m excited for where I’ll be at this time next year.

Fighting Negative Self Talk

Been having so many talks about negative self with friends and pals lately.

We have no issue accepting horrible bosses and big jerks, but we issues with accepting graceful, kind people. If they exist in our lives, they can exist as bosses, and colleagues, and partners, and people in our lives.

Keep moving in the direction of the good things you want, and stop accepting jerk behaviors as truth, as gospel.

Money is Energy

The cliche “you gotta spend money to make money” is so true.

And the idea of scarcity is damaging, too. I mean, I get it. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Don’t be foolish with money. But also don’t doubt your own abilities and skills.

You’ve made money before, you’ll make it again.

Being Broke Sucks

A friend recently took a considerable paycut. Scary in itself, but many times scarier when you’ve got multiple mouths to feed, a mortgage, and car payments. It sucks.

And this friend is a dude pal of mine. Dudes, who are conditioned for years to be the “breadwinners,” the “head of households.” The “provider.” These are 50s era hold-overs, right? From a time when a single paycheck could provide a good life and college was $400.

This friend has taken a hit both in the wallet, and mentally. We’ve been talking quite a bit, but finally got to the source. It’s the money part. It’s making less, not providing “enough,” or as before.

I know this goes for both sexes (especially with women making less than men right out of the gate), but trying our best to not tie our self worth to our bank accounts is god damn hard work.

Without money in the bank, without “spending money,” it’s harder to meet up with friends for dinner, travel for weddings, and about a million other social things.

I know, because I’ve been piss broke the last few years. When the subject came up of that cool new show on Netflix, which at the time cost just $8/mo, I changed the subject; “oh, I just don’t watch a lot of TV” I’d say, which was a way for me to avoid, “oh, I can’t afford that.”

Money can’t buy happiness, sure. There’s a lot of miserable rich people out there. But money buys you choices, and affords you dignity, which is damn near priceless.