When we find something we love doing, we want to do it all the time voluntarily. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that love. It’s easy to turn that passion and love into over obsession, which only leads to frustration, stress, and unnecessary tears. It can be easy to forget that love.
When I started running, I was in the sixth grade; a chubbier, technically overweight kid who didn’t know the first thing about running. My mom made me join the junior high cross country team and that’s where my journey began. I fell in love with running. I was a slow kid with a 23-25 minute 2 mile and a 8:30-9 minute mile, but I didn’t care. I loved running and after the season ended, I ran everyday because I loved doing it. There was motivation to improve, but at the core, I did it because it was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. There was nothing else I’d rather be doing.
The next cross country season, I ran my 2 mile races in 16 minutes and my mile was “in the 7 minutes.” I don’t remember being angry at a bad race or even imagine crying over a bad time. I remember the fun I had. So where did that feeling go?
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers that tell you how “good” you are. When you start obsessing over the numbers of running like weekly mileage and race times, you can lose sight of why you even started running in the first place. When the tears fall and the anger brews, that’s not even love for the sport anymore. Christopher McDougall wrote in his book Born to Run about Joe Vigil’s revelation about “..the next leap forward in human endurance…” There were all the scientific, quantifiable data and methods that helped runners train efficiently, but what Joe Vigil saw was character. Not character in the sense of extreme competition but love. That feeling you had as a kid where you chased your friends playing tag or while playing a game of soccer. The feeling of running and sprinting without thinking about pacing yourself and simply wanting to sprint your hardest to get the soccer ball or to get away from your friends in tag. The legendary ultra running tribes known as the Tarahumara (who Joe was watching at the time) never forgot that love and that is their secret to running.
So remember that you love running. You might not be hitting certain times you were expecting to hit or feel good during a race, but you can’t ever ever ever ever ever EVER forget that you’re running because you love doing it. If you didn’t love it, then you why are you running?
*Seriously, read Born to Run, it’s a fantastic book