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.
So 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?