Training Time, by Chris Cantrell

I train at night, I enjoy having the entire gym to myself or being able to run the streets or trails and enjoy the stillness of the night. I am comfortable in the dark. When the din of daily life wanes, you can really hear yourself think.

We all have seasons where we have to scale back, but those times should be temporary and intentional.

Recently, my wife was headed off to bed and I was getting my things together to head to the gym. My wife commented that she’d rather have me stay home and head to bed for the night. You see, I’ve worked a lot more than normal lately and we had only spent about half an hour together that day. We didn’t marry each other to spend lots of time apart. I truly enjoy those times when we can end our day together, praying right before we go to sleep. However, I needed ten miles. I looked her in the eye and said. “I have two choices. I can run or I can go crazy.” With little hesitation, she told me to go run.

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As I settled in for ninety-nine minutes of listening to my feet hit the belt, I began to think about the conversation I had with my wife and what it really meant. How it actually applies to various aspects of life. How it really impacts my life and the lives of others.

One of the questions, potential MURCANs are asked is why they run. Run off the crazy, de-stress, and maintain emotional balance are some common answers. I fall right in line with this mindset. As a matter of fact, last year’s MURCA Virtual 50K couldn’t have come at a better time. Due to a family situation, I had to turn down a really great work assignment. I hated to do it, but it was the right thing to do. That didn’t make that pill any easier to swallow though. I struggled with what to say in the required email to the corporate office. I was quite irritated at the whole situation. So, I grabbed my shoes and headed out to run at about 2230. I ran all night. 50K later, I knew what I was going to say.

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There is something inexplicably therapeutic about the simple act of moving on foot for an extended period of time. Whether pounding the ‘mill, running laps, or conquering a great point to point route; life’s problems seem to fade away even if it’s only for a moment. Running is restorative. Like hitting some sort of mental reset button.

I’d venture a guess that, right about now, every MURCAn reading this is saying “well duh!” Here’s where something occurred to me that I hadn’t really quantified before. We’ve all seen the infographics and headlines about work life balance and stress being a killer. We’ve all seen Marines that end up in a really bad place due to a lack of healthy coping strategies. Study after study have shown how we suffer physically, emotionally, and professionally when we don’t effectively manage the stressors in our lives. I doubt there’s a single MURCAn who wouldn’t move Heaven and Earth to try to help a veteran avoid eating a bullet or drinking themselves to death because of the overwhelming stress life is applying. But…are we doing the same for ourselves?

I am willing to bet each and every MURCAn can look back at a time, or maybe look at our life now, and see where we let our training time slip away as life got busy. Now don’t get me wrong. We all have seasons where we have to scale back, but those times should be temporary and intentional. If we know our relationships and our health can suffer from stress and running helps manage that stress, we should be prioritizing our training time. Next time life gets crazy and you start to see an extended period of time where your training is falling off, don’t accept it. Fight! Fight for your training time. Fight like you are the third monkey in line for the ark and it is starting to rain. After all, your life may actually depend on it.

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