On Why I Don’t Run Marathons

November 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Moving Weight

Last weekend in New York City there was the marathon. I forget who won, I honestly wasn’t even paying attention. I’d have completely forgot there even was a marathon if it weren’t for my twitter timeline and the fact that certain streets were blocked off.

Usually in the weeks leading up to the marathon, I often get asked if I’m training for it. Because people know I like to run and typically I have certain benchmarks I’m looking to reach. The answer is, no, I’m not training for the marathon. I don’t know that I ever will. For the most part I’ve been running 6 or more miles a day for almost 3 years and there are a few things that seem to strike folks when I speak of my experience doing this.

1) I’ve done it all solo. I’ve never done a serious run with anyone else. Well, scratch that. I ran one time last summer in Clove Lakes park in Staten Island with a former member of the Marine Corps Special Forces unit. He asked me to. It was a good run but definitely slower and shorter than I’d have liked. Dude was in amazing shape, about to become a full time trainer, so I was a little disappointed. I also ran with Alex from the Kickdrums in Central Park one time. And that was fun. For the most part though, every day I’m on my own.

2) I’ve never been in a race. I’ve never even thought about being in a race. I know there are all these 5k runs for this and that. And maybe I should get involved with one of those some day. I don’t know, they just never really appealed to me for whatever reason.

3) Up until very recently, when I bought an iPod Nano, I ran in total silence. For a very brief period of time I was using the media player on my blackberry, but then the headphone jack stopped working. So no music really. Just me. Alone. With my thoughts and the ground beneath my feet.

4) I ran with the same pair of Asics from January 2008 up until October 2010. That’s a lot of miles to cover with one pair of sneakers. They’re still in surprisingly good shape with lots of tread on them. You’d think all the running outside would wear them out, but that just hasn’t happened. Why didn’t I buy a new pair? Laziness, mostly.

5) I haven’t had a single noteworthy injury. Barely a knee pain worth mentioning from running itself.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s because I think when I hear these questions about whether or not I’m training for a marathon or a race, I start thinking about people’s purpose for doing things. Maybe they don’t think they’ll win the marathon, but they want to complete it anyway. It’s on their bucket list more info

or whatever. Some people do it for charity. Other people do it because it’s a social thing. Like, a year ago a friend asked me to get in a marathon runner’s club with her. Adidas was sponsoring it and they were filming the training sessions and all this other shit. It sounded cool to me, but oh such a pain in the ass.

How bout I just get down to telling you why I run… I run because I enjoy it. I run because now it feels like a natural thing. I enjoy the process. I enjoy moving my legs. I enjoy feeling my heart beat fast. I enjoy hitting my stride. I enjoy breathing heavy. I enjoy keeling over on the treadmill because I think I can’t go any longer. I enjoy sprinting at 12mph and feeling the burn in my quads. I enjoy running up a hill and feeling every muscle in my core tighten as I try to maintain my speed and make it to the top. I enjoy the time I get to be alone with my thoughts. I enjoy runner’s high. I enjoy feeling alive.

There’s this idea- I think maybe it’s an American thing- where we always have to be doing something for a specific reason. Like there has to be some deep subversive meaning behind our actions. Something bigger than what it is. Like running. And a marathon. I just don’t subscribe to that theory at all. I do things because I let them naturally occur. I take piano lessons because I want to be come better at playing the piano, because in the natural order of things, my hands are drawn to the keyboard, but not because I want to be a pianist. Not because I want to perform a concerto. No, because it brings me a sense of joy. And again, it’s the process itself that provides the reward.

It’s similar to running. I needn’t be running in pursuit of completing a marathon to make me run. I’ll run my 6 7 or 8 miles a day whether the concept of marathon exists or not. There is no grand scheme here. I top out at 8 miles or so just on the strength of being kind of bored after an hour. Nothing more to it. I’m sure if I wanted to, I could run 28 miles straight. I’ve actually not a doubt in my mind about that. Last night I ran a 6 minute mile. First time in my life I did that. It was the 3rd mile of my workout. I had no real goal in mind, just an impulse. It wasn’t something I set out to do per se. But in the midst of mile 2 I said to myself, maybe I can knock out a mile in 6 minutes. And I did. Then I got off the treadmill.

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  • Brooke Fraser

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