The pain is unimaginable. It’s hard to fathom 5 months of work coming down to 2 hours on a Sunday morning. And it all started with Jared making the mistake of saying either I couldn’t run the half marathon or that I wouldn’t run it. I’ll take anyone’s challenge and knock it out the fuckin’ park. In this case, it was City Park.
I hated running when I started training, I hated it during my training runs, and even today, after running faster than my goal, I still despise running. There’s this myth of a “Runner’s High.” It’s like this meditative state runners find themselves in; they feel fabulous, clear-headed, energized, and about ready to take on the world. The only “high” I got was my heart rate. I also grabbed a “high five” from my family as I ran past them about 2 miles into the race.
“Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” ~ Paavo Nurmi
This challenge brought a whole new meaning to “mind over matter.” It doesn’t matter how many days I trained, if my mind wasn’t ready for this, I would have failed. Just like muscles, we have to train our minds. I guess, luckily, most of my training runs hurt. There was always something going on and regardless of researching and trying new techniques, there was some sort of pain with each run.
The outer part of my left knee hurt and popped when I walked after longer runs. I learned this was my IT Band and that I have IT Band Syndrome. I incorporated more hips/butt exercises to offset the IT Band pain, but I learned to run through it. I eventually accepted that my left knee was going to hurt really fucking bad after the Colfax Half Marathon. I took all the precautions I could and welcomed the pain.
The second toenail on my left foot started to thicken and turn black. I researched and found a home remedy of 1 part olive oil and 1 part tea tree oil to rub on my poor little toenail. Supposedly this would soften it up. I learned to run with the toenail pain. I started wearing looser shoes to remedy the tightness and give the toe more room. And again, I eventually accepted that this pain would be present during and most certainly exacerbated after the Colfax Half Marathon.
The I-thought-it-was-just-a-blister-but-Chris-pointed-out-that-it-was-a corn on my right pinky toe rubbed against my shoe and I acknowledged the pain. Again, taking all precaution, I unabashedly bought Corn Husker lotion and rubbed that along my tattooed toe, praying to the tattoo gods that this awful corn wouldn’t mess up my ink. I even wrapped the toe to protect it from shoes and further running. Come Colfax Half Marathon time, it went Corn Husker and tape-free for the run. I expected it to hurt and I was ready for the pain.
Cramping was always a problem during my training runs. It ranged from mild, okay, I can deal with this kind of pain to extreme, Holy-fucking-shit I need to stop and walk this out. There was always some sort of pain. Sometimes it cozied up in my calves, making stairs an enemy a day or two afterward. Oftentimes it’d snuggle itself between my ribcage and lungs, constantly reminding me it was there with a sharp pain every step. And best of all, it’d wrestle with my intestines, like two UFC cage fighters, tearing each other up. My intestines were the loser and the cramps wouldn’t just accept the win; they continued to pummel my insides until every step was met with a grimace. Like a true fighter, I grinned and bared it, and even accepted it’d happen the next time. I walked up to Corral D awaiting this cage fight in my lower abdomen.
It’s no exaggeration when I tell you that I truly hate running. I put myself through this pain and arduous training because it’s a challenge; it’s a medal piled on my desk with others. It’s pride. It’s knowing that my mind is as strong as my body, if not stronger. This sort of pain endurance makes me strong. If I can handle 2 straight hours of pain, I can handle whatever else comes my way. It’s knowing and proving that I’m unstoppable.