Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Emotional Running

After I finished the half-marathon, I experienced an unusual (for me) emotion, one I don’t have a name for. What do you call the feeling that makes you want to cry at a sappy Hallmark commercial? Is there even a word for that? Or is it just “feeling emotional?” Whatever it is, that’s how I felt for a good 45 minutes or so after finishing the race…

And speaking of emotions, the day before the half-marathon, I was driving along the race route and was suddenly hit with a much easier emotion to identify – fear. Unexpected, unambiguous, plain-old fear, triggered by the sight of the road I’d be running on. The feeling went away quickly as I talked myself down, remembering my successful completion of a 10 mile run just a few days earlier. But wow, I wasn’t expecting that. 

Looking back at it, I think it was just a response to the anticipated pain involved with running 13.1 miles. It turns out, my body thinks pain is scary. And it’s right, ‘cause pain hurts.

But until this weekend, I had no idea distance running was such an emotional experience.


Kim said...

Isn't there a saying that goes something like: running a marathon is 10% physical and 90% mental?

It's funny how we can be scared of a race that we voluntarily sign up for (I had that same feeling when I did a 10k). What's the worst thing that can happen? You may have to walk for a little bit? :)

Awesome job, Dan. I'm very impressed!

The Dan Ward said...

I agree - running is at least 90% mental, although I certainly ran into that 10% physicality around mile 11, when I told myself I could keep running, I would not walk... and much to my surprise found that my legs had decided to walk anyway.

As for the fear, I think it was the lizard-brain part of me, recognizing the upcoming pain and discomfort and reacting accordingly, with a short burst of fear chemicals to the brain.

It really is a fascinating experience...