Last year I ran two marathons and a 10km race. I regularly run 4 times a week. I think nothing of running a half marathon in training and I have a subscription to Runners World magazine.
To anyone who asks me I tell them I love running. But that is not the whole truth. The whole truth is that a lot of the time I hate running. This morning I got up at six in the morning and by 6.15am I had hit the road and was running a half marathon. It was pitch black outside and I was running at my marathon pace of roughly seven minute miles. There was no love and joy as I pounded the streets and ran up and down hills. No, if I’m honest the overriding emotion I was experiencing was hate not love.
I recently bought pictures of myself running, that the organisers of the Amsterdam marathon were selling to me, as one of the participants. I had hoped that seeing them would inspire me to keep on running and train harder. Instead when I looked at them all I saw was a grown man in a lot of pain. Again no love and no joy just pain.
I realise that to get to the bit of running I love I have to get through a lot of hate and pain as well. To get to that feeling of euphoria, to feel that sense of achievement is not easy. And I realise that there is a lot of love and joy at the end of the running rainbow (and while running towards it as well).
The challenge is how do I motivate myself to keep on going through the pain to get to the bit I love?
Well what I’ve done is enlisted the help of my friends.
Five of us from literally all over the world (two in New York, one in London and two of us in Glasgow) have formed what we call the run face club. It’s quite simple. Before a run we take a photograph of ourselves on our phones, normally our faces hence the name of the group, and then post it to the other four.
It works because when I really don’t want to run I feel the love of the other run face members. I also feel the peer pressure, when I see fellow run club members post their picture and I haven’t I feel a sense of shame and that can get me over the hurdle of not wanting to get out there when I’m tired. And lastly I think there is a sense of camaraderie; we are like brothers and sisters in effort.
So when I might not be feeling the love for the running I feel the love of my friends and that gets me out and helps me reach the reason I ultimately run. Because I love it – sometimes.
The picture is of run face members Andrew and his wife Tesmer. It might look like two people just about to set off on a run looking strangely moody but this morning it was my inspiration.
(The original version of this blogpost appears on audio diary audioboo.fm/TheSoundOfRunning)
UPDATE: Since writing this post run face club has a new member, (see photo on the right). So now there are two of us in Glasgow, two in London and two in New York.