5 Reasons Why I Love to Hate Running
I’m days away from running in one of the world’s most iconic races: the New York City Marathon. The only problem? I hate running.
Have I completely lost my mind? Sometimes I think so as I’m forcing my fatigued body to push through those double-digit runs over the weekend when I’m supposed to be resting from a taxing workweek. Part of this insanity is what pushes me toward that finish line on November 5.
1 – I’ve learned to love to hate running.
Although I dabbled in various sports growing up, I was never deemed the superstar or the MVP. In 6th grade, I made the “C” team in basketball (way to boost our confidence!). Junior high water polo was also short-lived as I spent most of my time swallowing water and getting drowned by the girls twice my size. Plus, I hated swimming in the winter because I never could get my body warm. And let’s just say I was somewhat responsible for a season-ending varsity softball game as a pinch runner in the final inning. Instead, I excelled in the classroom and enjoyed making flash cards for my AP Biology class on wild Saturday nights.
I did, however, discover a love for running during my junior and senior year in high school where I ran cross-country and track. I was pretty average, but this sport felt the most natural to me. Fast forward to my college years, where I hustled taking on 26 units a semester while balancing two jobs, one of those being a fitness instructor at a local gym. Fitness and running was my outlet and my stress reliever. I could go out and run for hours out of pure enjoyment and then teach a boot camp or kickbox class. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how I had that much energy.
Some people eat, sleep and breathe running as their legs naturally crave hitting that pavement or dirt trail. I’m not that person. I kick and scream like a toddler at the thought of waking up and setting out for a 15-mile run when I’d rather be eating pancakes while sipping coffee in my pajamas. But what I do love is that post-run feeling (we call this a runner’s high). This state of euphoria outweighs the pain 10 times out of 10. This is what keeps me going.
2 – Remember the old saying, “No pain, no gain?” So cliché, but so true.
In 2012, I began a new life as a graduate student and tragically slipped into an unexplainable health downturn. As the days went on, my energy levels tanked, I found it very difficult to concentrate in my classes, and I couldn’t physically get myself to exercise. All of these things that had once come so easily were leaving me with no explanation. This sudden shift was what changed the trajectory of my life. After months of battling an unknown autoimmune disease, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on December 21, 2012.
Training for a marathon is tough to begin with. Training for a marathon while balancing an unpredictable autoimmune disease like Type 1 is doubly challenging. Some of our greatest successes come when we exercise our true inner grit — when our passion and perseverance are equally at work as we push through our comfort zones. If I can complete 26.2 miles marked by sheer discomfort, I can do anything!
3 – I’ve learned to embrace failure and to leverage it for growth opportunities.
In terms of exercise, I’ve used the past five years to experiment and explore to see what works best for me. I tried to pick up on running early on in my new life with T1D, but it was too difficult and unpredictable. For the most part, I live my life according to the idea that Type 1 diabetes is not a hindrance to living the best life possible — I just have to work a little harder. However, running was the one thing I wrote off, contradicting everything I stand for.
Earlier this year, I decided I was finally going to run a half-marathon, one of the items on my bucket list. Just as you’d take an old book off a shelf and brush off the dust, I felt as if I was brushing off my dusty running legs. Finishing that half-marathon was so rewarding and one step closer to the big show: The New York City Marathon.
Failure used to scare me and I still fight my instinct to tiptoe around it. Living with a chronic illness that ebbs and flows and evolves through various life seasons offers a glimpse into why T1D is a very trial-and-error type of disease. Now add the layer of marathon training to this. Every day and every run is different and presents its own sets of challenges. Some days I have successful runs with a solid pace and stable blood sugar. Other days, I faceplant and need to call an Uber to drive me home for those last two miles (true story). I’m not saying I love failure and wake up each morning thinking, OMG, I cannot wait to fail today!, but we should all embrace failure to learn and continually get stronger and wiser. Running has this effect on me.
4 – Running demonstrates that I can find meaning in things that aren’t always desirable or fun.
It’s just like my journey with Type 1. YES, it royally sucks and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. On my journey, however, I’ve discovered new outlooks on life, experienced a higher appreciation for good health, deepened my empathy and compassion for others, built relationships within this community, and found my life’s purpose.
5 – Lastly, I love to hate running because this “average runner” is going to prove to herself and to the world that Type 1 diabetes is not a hindrance to running the New York City MARATHON and running it well!
I proudly get to represent Beyond Type 1 with my amazing team, Beyond Type Run, on race day. When I originally signed up to compete in this race, I intended to run this marathon for my T1D Family and for the greater T1D Community. They are the reason I love to hate running and the reason I will cross that finish line with a huge smile on my face. But I still hate running …
To learn more about the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon Beyond Type Run team here.