We don’t do it because it’s easy

  • This was printed in September of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 71st installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

If running were easy, everyone would be doing it.

I’ve been hearing from a lot of runners lately who are anxious about upcoming races and

I can’t help but ask them ‘Did you expect it to be easy? Isn’t that part of the appeal?’

Couch potatoes don’t sign up for 5Ks because they think it’s going to be easy, just as

casual runners don’t sign up for marathons because it’ll be fun. They’re looking for a

challenge because they believe it will have a positive impact on their lives.

For all of the runners out there, or for anyone who has set a goal but is anxious about

(not) accomplishing it, listen up. Here’s your pep talk from a person who has been there.

Yes, it’s going to be hard. You didn’t register for this race — or set a specific goal —

because you thought it was going to be a walk in the park. Your feet might hurt, your

muscles will ache, your heart might feel like it’s going to pop out of your chest. You’re

going to long for nothing more than the finish line — and then you’ll cross it.

Trust in your abilities, training and preparation. Trust in yourself and your willpower to

move forward step after step, mile after mile.

Erase doubt and fear from your mind. Expect pain and fatigue — if you know it’s

coming, you don’t have to waste time being afraid of it creeping up on you.

Repeat after me: “There will be pain, and I will overcome it.”

Of course, don’t discount the support you will receive from others. The running

community is one of the most supportive of any; strangers might help you massage a

cramp or cross a finish line before any friend comes to your aid.

I wanted to be the first woman to cross the finish line at The Wascally Half Mawothon

last Saturday. I was anxious and I doubted myself, but then I gave myself a pep talk:

“Suck it up, buttercup. This is going to hurt. You’re going to push. You’re going to run

this course faster than you ever have before. You’ll probably get blisters; you might get a

cramp. But this race is yours to win.”

I was right. It hurt. I pushed. I ran the course faster than I ever have before, finishing in 1

hour, 36 minutes and 26 seconds. I got a blister; it popped and bled through my shoe.

But I won.

And even though it was my feet that continued to pound the pavement for 13.1 miles, my

muscles that expended every ounce of glycogen to get me to my goal, and my heart and

lungs that circulated oxygen throughout my body as I propelled myself up countless hills

— it was the motivation from my pacer, my coach and every person in the race who

yelled “First female!” “Go Gazelle!” and “Go Farin!” that got me to the end. Support is

priceless.

135 To The House

This weekend, a few dozen people will run from the Ronald McDonald House in

Bakersfield to the RMH in Madera, next to Children’s Hospital Central California. Most

of them, like myself, are part of 4- to 8-member relay teams that will split the 135-mile

distance. A select few will make the entire journey on their own.

We’re not doing it because it’s going to be easy. We’re doing it because we want to raise

awareness and funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which offer places to

sleep and hot meals for families whose children are in being treated in hospitals.

Donations, which can be made at http://www.fundraise.com/135tothehouse, are deeply

appreciated.

We’re doing it because we’re looking for a challenge, and because we want the

experience, memories and fun that will come along with an overnight relay.

It’ll be like a slumber party…but with running.

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