This week, I had the privilege of reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. This was an absolutely fabulous book that helped me reflect on why I like running so much, even though I’d be better at many other sports due to my body type. I laughed a lot in this book, and recognized a lot of myself. One thing he said that made me laugh out loud was:
Muscles are hard to gain and easy to lose. Fat is easy to gain and hard to lose.
This is true of so much that is important to us. Anything of virtue and power is difficult to gain, requiring much discipline and resolve over long periods of time. Anything of comfort and complacency is very easy to gain, while engendering habits that are very difficult to break. It takes a considerable amount of time for your body to regain its disciplines of virtue.
All of these things require disciplines of worship that are hard to gain, yet very easy to lose. It is very easy to become spiritually fat, because while there is an abundance of Christian teaching, the culture is saturated with self-centered thinking. It is nearly impossible to escape going with the self-centered flow.
This week, the fatigue settled in some. One of the things I expressly hated about long-distance running training–especially for the marathon–is the fatigue. You feel tired all of the time. ALL of the time. Your stairs require every last bit of your resolve, especially if your arms are full of children or laundry. Working requires you to escape a never-ending fog that sets in very soon after the “runner’s high” (I’m still not quite sure what this is) wears off. Routine housework is nearly impossible at sometimes, while at other times it is the only thing you’re able to do. And the irritability… Ah, I’d apologize to my wife and kids but I’m not sure they’d give me much sympathy.
By the end of the week, it feels that my body is adjusting some to the demands of the training, but the point of marathon and half-marathon training is accumulating fatigue. So now that I know that it is adjusting, it may be time to turn the screws some and return to the cycle of irritability.
I was watching a video about Sir Roger Bannister and he was describing how his coach was pushing him to attempt the sub-4:00 mile. Running that fast, for that long, is quite painful. When confronted with the pain of the race, his coach would tell him:
“Faster, faster! It is only pain!”
LOL. It’s only pain… I laugh every time I think of my last marathon. Of course, there’s a chance the pain I felt was only mental. But I’m just not sure it was. There was definitely my muscles seizing up, having not run anywhere near enough to prepare for that race. But I do know that maybe I was not being mentally strong enough through that training cycle. Certainly I could have pressed a bit harder, or even worked harder to make sure I didn’t miss any runs. In that sense, it was mental. And when I’m doing a hilly training run or making a treadmill tempo a bit harder, I’d do well to think more often “it’s only pain.” LOL
The end of this week saw some of the symptoms of plantar fasciitis crop up. Opposite feet of course. I’ll definitely have to make sure I tape my feet and stick to my adidas shoes when doing long runs on the road. I’m tempted to go out and get another pair of shoes if it’s on sale. It’s that serious right now. I am not going to be defeated by plantar fasciitis for two years in a row.
I ran more miles this year than I’ve run in years. 7,4,4,5,8. 28 miles this week! I’m very excited about that, and I’m trying to think carefully about how to get that to 40. Without plantar fasciitis, of course.
Injury is so frustrating. You don’t feel winded—although I certainly did on today’s workout—but you feel utterly unable to push through the pain without risking substantial injury. So you start waiting.