I Run Ultra Marathons Because I’m Lazy

9 Sep

It’s true.

I began running ultra marathons because I am lazy.  I knew I had good endurance genes.  I knew I preferred 10 miles with friends to 5 miles alone. And I knew that over time, my miles get faster.  Not fast.  I seem to spend my first 5-6 miles at super slow speeds.  But any miles after that move into just the slow category.  I get faster.

And I like challenges.  I love pushing myself to see what I’m capable of.  To see which breaks down first – my legs, my back, or my mind.

But the reason I did my half Ironman and my ultra marathons is laziness.  I basically had two choices:

  1. Train for a race on my own.  Figure out a training schedule.  Adhere to it.  Figure out how to fuel myself.  Figure out how to motivate myself.  Figure out a whole lot of things!
  2. Train with the guys.  Let them devise the training schedule. Just show up at the designated hour with the designated gear.  Follow the maps they plan.  Drink the water bottles they plant.  Eat the foods they tell me to.  (I’d be the best military newbie!) And just like that, I’ll follow their instructions over the finish line.
Which is what I’ve done.  Many times.  And it has worked very well.  Laziness breeds a lifelong affection for laziness.
But now I find myself struggling through this on my own.  Training for a 29 mile ultra relay race.  Followed the next weekend by a half marathon.  Then a few more half marathons.  Then a marathon. And trying to coach a few others through their races.
And I miss how dependent I was on others doing everything for me.  It was easy.  Mindless.  The running took physical energy – yes, but no mental preparation.  If something went wrong, I could blame them.

But I like how strong and capable I feel now.  I can plan routes, I can advice on gels and liquids and electrolytes, I can force myself to run without music alone for a period of time and actually, gasp, not hate it.  Someday, I may even love it! I can coach others because I have been coached.  Or coaxed.  There were a lot of promises of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that never materialized.

I was lazy.  And I’m okay with that. Had I been independent and motivated, I would have aimed high: run 13 miles and get a nifty metal.  (Which I do. Sometimes.)  But because I was dependent and lazy, I aimed low: do whatever they tell me to do.  And I have five 36 mile runs under my belt.  No metals.  Not even any race registration fees.  But I have memories.  And the knowledge that it can be done.

I’m less lazy now.  I run alone.  With friends.  With music.  In different types of shoes.  Wearing different types of gear.  Eating different type of pre-race meals (although never with green eggs and ham).  Some days I get lost in my thoughts and barely notice I’m running.  Most days I am acutely aware of each footstep.

The important part for me is not my laziness.  The important part is certainly not my ultra marathons.  And there’s no speed to speak of, so that’s not important.  The important part is I run. Because I choose to.
And the important part for you is not laziness.  Whatever it takes to motivate yourself – a writing club, a cooking class, reminder note cards, a how-to video, lessons with the sports pro – use that.  The important part is not speed or ultra-anything.  The important part is that you ______.  Because you choose to.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: