This weekend, that of June 18 and 19, marks this year’s Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. And this year, a very unprepared person (yours truly) ran the half marathon.
A year ago, two other people and I decided it would be fun to run the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon together. Unfortunately, the others were not able to run it with me, so I forged on alone.
While it was hard knowing I might have to tackle the race by myself, the bigger problem stems from my decisions. I had a workout plan and plenty of moral support from friends and family, but even with all of that, I still failed to train as much as I should have. So instead of an incredible first half marathon experience, it was one of (painful) lessons in need of learning.
I could make excuses for why I’m not ready — too busy with work (hardly), not enough time in my day (stop watching Netflix now) and it’s too hot or cold outside (toughen up) — but what it really comes down to is the decision to actually go! Once that decision has been made, it’s all very easy. I never made that decision.
And so today, I ran that race. 13.1 miles. It was long, to be sure. But you don’t pay 90 dollars and then decide to sleep in on race day. So instead of being under the covers at 4 a.m. this morning, I was out of bed, eating a small breakfast in preparation for my big race. Anticipating hot weather, I was more than a little nervous. But luckily, I had found some people to run my first half marathon with, and I knew I would be able to get through it.
I was grueling, though the heat was not as bad as originally thought to be. There were only a small number of hills in the race, which made it a little better. So, this brings us to the main point: running on E. The way I see it, “E” can be interpreted in two different ways.
There is, of course, the expected empty, and in some ways, I ran today’s race on empty. I may have had breakfast this morning, but I did not have the same sure knowledge when it came to long-term preparation for this race. I was running on empty, fueled by the fumes of trainings past. A run here or there does not adequately prepare you for a half marathon. Despite this reality, that’s how I went into it. And despite my aching knees and sore feet, I think it could have been a lot worse than that for all the training I didn’t do.
Then you have the other way of looking at it, running on euphoria, enthusiasm and endorphin. All three words seem synonymous in this case. I felt a euphoria to be out running at 6:15 a.m. this morning, seeing a sky that most usually sleep through. I was enthusiastic about successfully completing my first half marathon. Then when it comes to endorphin, those naturally kicked in around mile seven, knowing I was halfway done and feeling decent. It really wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.
In reality, running on E boils down to perspective, as most situations in life do. I may have been running without adequate preparation, but I was also running on life’s high, that natural excitement that comes when you know you are doing something you love. I think I will gladly run on E(nthusiasm) again.