Running 12 Months Ago vs. Running Today

Right before the Walt Disney World 2016 Half Marathon

A year almost to the day, I wrote a post on my (then only) blog called The Curious Thing About Running. I was fresh off my second half marathon and while it was difficult, I was excited to complete a challenge that required both physical and mental toughness. As a matter of fact, I said that very thing:

The curious thing about running is this: it’s a challenge that’s both physical and mental. That means completing the physical gives you an immediate high — that endorphin high I was talking about. But once that goes away, you’re left with a different high. It’s the high you feel by knowing that you’re mentally tough enough to run a distance you’ve never run before…

And that is definitely true. But a funny thing happened after that. See, I live in the Northeast, and it was January. And the Northeast in January is cold. And running in the cold is pretty high up on my “things I least want to do” list.

Plus, I was getting married in less than 6 months! There was so much to do!

Did I mention it was cold?

I kind of fell off the wagon of running. Sure I had all of these amazing thoughts and feelings. I got pretty emotional after that race, and since then I’ve run a 10K and attempted another half, but it didn’t work out. I stopped training.

Turns out you can’t take a 10 month break from running and expect to just get back into it. Running is not riding a bike.

Post-race 2016. I promise I’m happier than I look.

The very thought of running right now is not unfathomable, but it’s definitely not high up there on my list of things to do. I lost that mental toughness that I was talking about.

So What Now?

So what now indeed. The excuses can keep coming, if I so desire:

  • But I have so much work to do.
  • I have a baby coming in less than 2 months!
  • It’s still January! SO COLD.
November 2016, before a shorter but decidedly harder race.

After I couldn’t do the last half marathon I attempted, I beat myself up…a lot. I couldn’t believe I failed at something I was so sure I’d be able to do. But then you know what I did? I went back to doing nothing about it. It’s way easier to be mad at yourself for a short amount of time than to commit to a several months long process.

My brother Rob, Erin S., and Dave after the last half.

To be honest, I think my wife is a little relieved that I’m not running long distances in the shape I’m in. At 257 lbs, distance running is rough on everything. So I need a new plan.

Finding that Mental Toughness

I want to get that feeling back — the one I felt after completing the last half marathon. This past weekend had me thinking a lot about it because it was the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.

I need to devise a plan that starts with easing my way back into running, along with weight loss. Sure, I’ve been walking a lot more. I’ve been eating better. Those are the physical hurdles I need to overcome in order to be able to run 13.1 miles again, this time without worrying my friends and family.

But I also need to find that mental toughness.

Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. -Yogi Berra

I love that quote from Yogi Berra, and not only because it’s one of his most famous Yogisms. I think it can be said of a lot of challenging activities. You need to commit yourself to it, both mentally and physically. You need to give 140%. That’s more than the normal 110% you hear about.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I will find that mental toughness I need. There’s a lot of other things I’d rather do with my free time besides running. Good thing I have a good support system. You can see some of them in the photos above.

But I know I want to. Now I just need to.

Running 12 Months Ago vs. Running Today was originally published in Thoughts from Joe Casabona on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.