I raced the Los Angeles Rock and Roll Half Marathon today. I had a good result considering I have not done any speed/tempo work in months. 5th place overall in a time on 1:10 and change. While at the starting line of this half marathon I looked around at a sight I am now all too familiar with; me, the BIG WHITE GIANT, surrounded by countless other elite runners that look like they are made up of soley skin and bone. I have at least 30lbs. on the next closest runner. I feel as if could accidentally step on one these other runners and not know that I had just squashed someone. I am a big dude. I love to eat. I have muscle mass that is not going anywhere. I frequently get the question, “For such a big person, how do you run so fast?”
As I was racing today I was thinking about this question. As the blood was filling in my lungs, the taste of iron was creeping up my throat, the puke was rising out of my belly, my muscles were burning hotter than any furnace, my mind was saying No Mas!”, and my chest was on the verge of cramping with every step; I thought…. I wanted to quit, but in some strange way this “want” caused me to push harder and harder. The pain of the race caused me to want to push harder. I knew that upon crossing the finishline all of the pain would be gone and I would feel the satisfaction of pushing my body to the limit(and beyond) and surviving. So I kept pushing. While heading back to the finishline I was passing the masses of other committed runners just heading out for the brutal second half of the course I heard countless shouts urging me on, “Go Jim!” Go Lube!” I can’t tell you how much this helps deal with the pain.
So as I sit here and collect my thoughts I think I can answer the question, “For such a big person, how do you run so fast?” I’m not going to lie. It’s been years of building and building, but I think a main reason is that I hurt. I know I am going to hurt. I take the pain. I deal with the pain. I push and push and push. I am sure I am the LARGEST Elite Runner in the sport, but I think my ability to push through the pain knowing I will come out of it alive allows me to hang with some extremely talented runners and keep making gains day after day, month after month, year after year.
Allow yourself to hurt and you will be a better athlete for it. No matter your size, shape, ethnicity, etc. you too can push your body to previously unthinkable limits. RACE HARD!