1. Pleading Insanity
On October 20th, I will run my first half-marathon, namely the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. For the past year or so, everyone who would listen has been forced to endure my incessant and overly exuberant talk about running and my goal of completing a full marathon. Finally, by registering to run this race, I suppose my actions match the level of my talk, and I will soon face the first real test of whether or not I can run a full marathon.
The typical reaction to this decision has been an interesting mix of encouragement coupled with an allegation that I might be insane. Friends and family jokingly make mention of the fact that they tire from simply walking up the stairs or tell me how many cigarettes they’ve had by the time I’ve completed my morning training. It seems to be the typical way of providing encouragement, but also reminding you of just how unusual and absurd a task you’re undertaking as far as they’re concerned.
Running is a boon to both physical and mental health, that no one can deny. The fact is, however, that excellent health does not require that anyone run a full marathon or even a half-marathon at any time. In fact, attempting to cover either of these distances without proper training, preparation, diet, and ensuring that you’re not at risk for incurring long-term damage, can result in more harm that good. In our busy modern lives, something requiring such dedication seems a bit much.
There was a time, which I have written about previously, when running was natural to our species and covering long distances was a necessity for survival. Scientists and anthropologists contend that our bodies evolved for running and perhaps this is why running just feels so damn good. This time, however, is gone. It’s no longer a necessity. Excellent health and conditioning is possible and achievable by so many other challenging but significantly less draining and excruciating means. The time investment and level of commitment required for a marathon is a full-time job in itself.