26.2 Days of Marine Corps: The Pit of Despair

2013-3-28-MarineCorpsMarathonAfter the Princeton Half, I went home and again lost all desire to do anything akin to exercise.

I have slowly sunken into another round of malaise; it’s hard to get excited about the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’ve put a lot of effort in, but given my performance at the last two half marathons, it’s tough to think that Marine Corps won’t be anything other than a painful march through the District.  Some runners are all “I HATE TAPERING” and I’m like, “fuck that shit, I love to taper. Bring it.”

The enthusiasm in the District is starting to percolate, though. I just saw a commercial for a local Hyundai dealer that had “proud car provider of the Marine Corps Marathon” tacked on to the end.

IMG_7571So now’s the time to just try and chillax since between now and the 25th there’s not much I can actually do. Sure, everyone seems to have trained harder and longer and even the people I know who haven’t trained harder and longer will probably run faster than I will, but at the end of the day if I let that bother me I’m only bringing myself down and I’m currently suffering enough from my own mental health issues.

I’ll get through it, it’ll be fine.  As everyone passed me by on the Princeton Half course, I had this moment when I thought, “oh my god, I’m going to be last if I’m not swept.” And then, as I ran through the woods where I’d normally think I’d get killed in some scenario ripped from an episode of Criminal Minds, I instead had the epiphany of “Ok, so… last place. Whatever.” And it genuinely didn’t bother me. There was a momentary panic and then I was like, “Oh, huh, ok. Whatever.”

People talk a lot about how running helps them deal with mental health problems but I think running can introduce just as many problems. It can reinforce feelings of insecurity and inferiority; the fitspirational culture can lend itself to obsession and addictive behavior and it can really encourage you to not be nice to yourself. To be harsh and unforgiving as it forces you to cast yourself in a series of terribly unforgiving dichotomies. Perhaps, in the long run, there are more important things you should occupy your time with than simply the pursuit of perfect abs or a better marathon time.

So, something that’s more important to you than running?


6 thoughts on “26.2 Days of Marine Corps: The Pit of Despair

  1. I think that running can be a combination of both….a great addition to treatment for mental health problems and it can also be the cause of mental health problems. I have seen both with me in the past five years. I’ve experienced the extremes–good mental health with when I’m running well, achieving goals. Bad stuff like you mention (insecurity, inferiority and general lack of self love when I’m not running well. I’m not sure what the answer is in terms of finding that balance.

    As for your question–the what’s more important to me than running, I would def say my friends and my family. Running will always take a back seat to them.

  2. I can promise you that I will not be faster than you and will not pass you. In fact, if you want, you should start behind me because then you’re guaranteed to pass at least one person! (although I know you will pass more)

    I wish I had words of advice or helpfulness or something encouraging, but the reality is I’m not in a good place myself both physically and mentally so…at least there’s going to be some fucking amazing burgers at the end! 🙂

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