I ran two miles today, and they sucked. There are plenty of reasons why those two miles weren’t very much fun.
- I ran in the middle of the day when the sun blazed, and the asphalt temperature crept up with each step.
- I ran alone.
- I switched up my eating habits this week and felt hungry.
- I felt angry because I ran 20 miles three weeks ago, but today I could barely squeak out two.
Like I said, running sucked today.
The reason I haven’t mentioned is more than likely the winner though: knowing that I will more than likely never run Boston.
The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail of the running world. Catering to the running elite, only the top 10% of runners worldwide qualify to participate. I have been running for two and a half years now, and I would have to reduce my average mile time by two minutes to earn the chance to sign up for the famed race.
This week brought a plethora of emotions around a race that I didn’t even think about four years ago. I thought of how exciting it must be to experience that marathon. After interviewing someone who ran it last year for work, I found a new appreciation for those who run the race. I loved seeing people’s posts and the neverending unicorn and blue and yellow heart emojis on social media. I cheered on people I knew and didn’t know from my little corner of North Carolina.
Then there’s the ugly side. Reading race recaps that talked about how pitiful they felt when maintaining a 7:30 pace became hard made me feel worthless. It shouldn’t have, but it did. I felt embarrassed because my average speeds are usually in the 9-10 minute range. I felt silly because article after article talked about Boston Qualifiers don’t stop to take selfies in a race or laugh it up with their friends. I felt like I wasn’t a “real” runner.
As I contemplated this during my sluggish two miler today, I realized that it’s okay if I never make it to Boston. That’s not why I run.
I run because I can do hard things.
I run to inspire and encourage.
I run to have fun.
I run because it’s a challenge I haven’t conquered.
I run for the endorphins (and shoes).
I run because it makes me feel proud.
I run because I’m a runner.