Running, Runing Straight to Hell

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I used to hate running so bad. I was never an out-of-shape person but I just loathed it--I hated doing the mile once a year in high school, I hated doing sprints for sports conditioning, I even hated doing it when I tried it on my own: I figured that if it was that tedious and boring and painful, then it must be the ultimate form of exercise so if I could master it, then I was really in shape. After a while I realized that life is too short to do exercise you loathe, so I gave it up. Last year though, I got into pretty good shape for my wedding, thanks to working out 6 or 7 days a week, twice a week with a trainer. Even though I rediscovered the art of eating after the wedding (a practice I had temporarily given up), I thought it would be a shame to let my physical achievements go to waste, so I decided to set a goal for myself--I'd run a 5K.

Fortunately I have a personal trainer who is really into running and who taught me, largely, that I had been doing it wrong the whole time. Basically, that cute pony-style of trotting where you lift your legs up high and pump your arms is a bit waste of energy. Plus, she'd run with me and tell me about her girlfriend and let me complain about various aspects of my life and before I knew it two and a half miles had gone by, which was annoying because it put an end to that whole "I can't run more than a mile" excuse.

I ran the 5K earlier this year and it was easier than I thought it would be, and fun, to boot, even though I was freaking out the night before recalling the time I had to run the mile in high school in under ten minutes and basically wet myself at the end. "I could have gone farther than that," I thought to myself, so as a challenge the other week I jogged from my house to my parents' house (about four and a half miles) and then last night, in the ultimate showdown (so far), I did five miles on the treadmill.

While I was tired and sweaty and stinkier than I'd ever been when I was done, it wasn't the distance so much that was rough (although I was mildly worried that I was going to pass out). It was the time: a little under an hour. Even though I'd get occasional bursts of "I can do it! I'm doing it!" I'd also think "This is so boring. I can't believe I have 45 more minutes of this. I could be home right now. I want to quit."

So I accomplished it but instead of thinking about the next goal, all I could think about is how I'm never going to run a marathon, not that I ever especially wanted to. What do you think about for five or six hours while you're jogging and beating your body up? I need mental and physical breaks from just sitting around for that long a period of time in front of the computer. I truly want to know, but I don't want to hear it if the answer is something along the lines of "I focus on the strength of my body and give thanks to God the entire time that I am alive and able to do this" because that is not helpful nor entertaining. So if you run marathons or know someone who does, can you please fill me in--what goes on in your brain during those 26 and 7⁄32 miles? Is there some sort of software where you can download movies directly into your brain and watch those while you run? Because maybe that would explain it.