Sunday, March 1, 2015

Random racing ruminations: Week 10, Why we must do what we dislike

There are ten more weeks until the Lincoln Half-Marathon and I'm trying to get back at this running schedule again. Since I've missed multiple runs, I'm playing catch-up to increase my distance. The achilles pain is gone (probably due to the fact that I haven't been running) and my new running shoes feel fantastic. Work has consumed my every waking moment when I'm not on dad duty. I go in to the office early, stay late, and log in at home from my laptop. The frequent disruptions to my training plan are a broken record, representing the chaos that is my life. I'm determined to do whatever it takes to get back on track, even though I would rather be a sloth sleeping on the couch.

Tuesday night I got on the treadmill in our basement and put in 5.2 miles. Then Saturday I was able to put in another 6 mile run. Doing that kind of distance on a treadmill makes you want to be brain dead. It's painfully boring. But I did it. I'm ready for warmer weather and clear sidewalks because I can't stand running indoors.

Here is my confession: I don't like running. I understand that may not make sense, especially if you are a runner.

Why engage in activities we don't like? I propose we do this all the time. For example when we have to do laundry or clean the house. Maybe it is school or studying subjects that frankly are uninteresting or un-engaging for us. Sometimes it is our job or careers. Or there are those people who avoid anything they don't like. They refuse to engage and become lethargic because they are unwilling to persist through what they consider undesirable. I posit that the avoidance of an activity merely due to the fact we dislike it is unhealthy. By doing what we deem "unfun" we gain appreciation for the other feelings, experiences, and after-effects connected to having engaged in the unpleasant. We attempt the undesirable because those activities, while not inherently exciting in their own right, lead to other forms of good accomplished by doing.

That is why I run. I like the challenge. I like being outdoors. I appreciate the challenge and grit required. I feel great afterwards. The exercise is a stress relief and keeps my mind sharp. Great ideas present themselves when I'm running. Oftentimes I offer up my runs as a form of prayer for whomever or whatever is on my mind. Running makes me feel accomplished and purposeful. Those are the many reasons why I run.

After I run, I have much more appreciation for other enjoyable experiences: relaxing with a book, hanging out with Charlie, playing with Lily, drinking a delicious beer, or being a sloth relaxing on the couch.

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