Yesterday I sat down after my morning training sessions to eat some lunch on the couch and what is on TV? The epic biography, “Prefontaine”!
For those of you who are not familiar with Steve Prefontaine, he was a legendary runner, an olympian and a huge advocate for the sport, he also died far too young and had an incredible life story. So naturally after the movie was over I felt inspired to go for a run.
“It’s perfect running weather” I thought to myself.
A beautiful 65 degrees with solid cloud cover and barely any wind. So as I always do I spent the next 15 minutes getting dressed and making a huge deal about the fact I was about to go for a run.
“I am going on a run!” I proudly proclaimed to Russell who knows more than anyone how much I hate to run. I had my music all set, my pedometer ready to go and my running shoes on. So down to Zuma I walked. I got ready to start my three-mile journey when I suddenly remembered, as if this spell of Prefontaine had been broken, how much I despise running.
Yes, I said it, I am a personal trainer and I do not like running. I actually feel compelled to punch people in the face who claim that they love running. Not that I don’t believe them, I just find it hard to believe that anyone in their right mind could love to run, to me it is basically self-inflicted torture.
Now, I hadn’t been on a run in over six weeks due to a toe problem which was in turn giving me pretty crazy shin splints. I had recently been injected with cortisone though and my toe was feeling much better so I thought, “What the hell, let’s give it a shot.”
The first mile was great, I felt inspired, the running was super easy, I was in my stride and I had trouble remembering why I didn’t like running. Then, after the second mile it all came rushing back to me. My toe was starting to hurt which in turn caused my hip to hurt which triggered my ankle. The high I felt in the first two miles was long gone and had given way to complete misery, all inspiration and happy thoughts were now nothing but anger and desperation. “Perfect running weather?” I thought to myself, who the hell says that, I don’t even believe there such a thing. “Why do I put myself through this?” I thought, but I turned up my music and started to run faster, anything to get the run over with sooner.
As soon as the run was over I walked back up to the house and Russell asked me how my run went. I was honest and said, “Horrible like always,” and he just laughed. I then told him how I got inspired to write this very blog post, about my unhealthy relationship with running. He told me to write no such thing, so of course here I am.
The reason I wanted to share this story with you, even if you can no longer respect me as a personal trainer, is because I am not a super athlete and you need to know that. I do love to workout but only because of how it makes me feel after, not during the workout. I am not sitting there doing 30 burpees thinking to myself “I love burpees!” No, I hate them, but I love what I get from them. I love to rock climb, it is my passion but sometimes I am scared out of my mind on the wall, and there are days that I absolutely dread training. One of the greatest accomplishments of my climbing experience was climbing Cathedral Peak with Russell last year, but I almost had a nervous breakdown at the top, and let’s not even mention that insane approach of two-miles straight uphill, that was hell.
I think there are a lot of people out there who post pictures of their accomplishments online that are misleading. Whether they just completed their first marathon (that they talked about every single day for the past year) or they just finished their 20th iron man, they always have these ridiculous grins on their faces and they might even be giving you a stupid thumbs up, but I guarantee that smile comes from the simple fact that the race is now over.
These are things I feel you need to know because training isn’t easy for me, it isn’t easy for anyone. I like strength training, I do find it fun, but there are so many things I don’t enjoy and running is just one of many. Yet I force myself to do it because I know it is good for me, it helps me in a way no other exercise can, and I know that it is healthy to try things I am awful at because it is a constant reminder than I can do better, I can always be better.
I have little respect for the people who only do the things they are good at in life and in sports. The climbers who only boulder because ultimately they are afraid of the heights and the huge lead falls, but of course they would never put it that way. Or the sport climbers who don’t boulder because, well basically they just aren’t strong enough. But we always find a way to disguise our weaknesses as excuses. We say one exercise is stupid or a waste of time, when in reality we are just afraid to try it or have tried it and really suck at it.
Becoming a better person, a better athelete, a better human being is all about challenging yourself, and it never hurts to be truly humbled every now and then. I wanted to share this story with you because I don’t want you to think that something it too hard for you to try, it is going to be hard and you probably won’t be good at it in the beginning, but that’s OK! Because believe me, the people that make it look easy have been doing it either obsessively for a short time, or have practiced on and off for years, if not their whole lives. Don’t think that you can’t start doing something just because it is hard, it is hard for everyone, but guess what? It gets easier, I promise.
In the words of Tom Hanks from A League of their Own, “Of course it’s hard, it’s supposed to be hard, hard is what makes it great.”
Now go make me proud and do something you are awful at.