Today was the 121st Boston Marathon. Before the Boston Marathon bombings, few knew what the Boston Marathon was, or how important of a race it is.
In order to qualify to run Boston, you have to be quite fast. For a woman my age, which would be in the 18-34 bracket, you must run a qualifying race in 3 hours and 35 minutes. Men my age would have to run a qualifying race in 3 hours and 5 minutes. That is 26.2 miles in just over 3 hours. If you can run a 7-7:30 minute mile, imagine doing it for 26 straight miles.
The Boston Marathon is the Super Bowl of running. It is historic and only the best can compete to win it. This year’s winner ran the race in 2:09:37, which is basically running under a 5-minute mile the entire time.
“So, where are you going with this?” Is probably what you’re thinking.
I have run 2 full marathons and 13 half marathons. I know I will never qualify to run Boston. But I still run. I run not because I enjoy the act of running but, rather, because I enjoy accomplishment.
My mom and I got into running in 2013 because we thought it would be really cool to run a race at Disney World. We thought we would just go there and run a 5k just to be able to run through the parks. But we started looking at the prices of the races and figured it was much more cost-effective to run a half marathon. We registered and the rest is history. I haven’t stopped since my first race in 2013 and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
When you talk to people about running, they’re too willing to come up with excuses as to why they won’t run. My favorite excuse is that someone can’t run. Sure, some people may actually not be able to run due to physical disability. But most people are saying they won’t run, not can’t. There is a very fine line between can’t and won’t.
Then you’ll hear all about how bad it is for your knees. Running can be bad for your knees but sitting on the couch watching tv is much worse. There are much worse things for your body than physical exercise. And there is nothing better for the mind.
When I run, I am able to completely clear my mind. It is a powerful de-stressing tool. It helps me sleep better. It also makes me feel much better physically. I have never experienced a “runner’s high,” but I always feel much better after a run than I do before one.
When I run races, I run my own personal Boston Marathon. I try to beat myself. I try to set higher goals for myself. I don’t run for anyone but me, which I think is one of the most powerful things about running.
We, as humans, are too often worried about challenging someone else. About beating someone else. About winning. With running, we get the unique opportunity to challenge our own self. To beat ourselves. To win. With running, we can better ourselves and focus on ourselves.
It is more important to set personal goals, and to achieve them, than it is to beat someone else. This can be achieved in many ways, not just through running. But, like with running, challenging ourselves isn’t easy. But, as the adage goes, nothing worth having comes easy.