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One of the things I think about on long runs while training for a marathon is precisely how not fun running often is while training. Running through pain, heat, cold, rain exhaustion, etc. is not fun and certainly not easy, but it's precisely those difficulties that makes crossing the finish line such a triumphant moment. All those moments of struggle are like little deposits towards an immense payoff; the sum of everything you've endured.

There's something satisfying about doing things the hard way. If this stuff were easy or fun all the time, it would get boring.

The difficult part is maintaining that drive to do things the hard way. When hard things get harder, and then impossible, its hard not to start to feel depleted. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance[1] calls this reservoir of inner strength "gumption" and points out that you have to make an effort to keep the tank full. I see it as a kind of faith, not in God, but in yourself; faith that you can and will overcome whatever insurmountable obstacle you face. I try to keep that tank topped off by running, reading, and, despite how hard it is, taking regular vacations where I step away to disconnect altogether. That way, I can feel anticipation in the face of a challenge rather than fear or despair; anticipation of a journey that won't be easy, but will certainly be rewarding.

[1]http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Art-Motorcycle-Maintenance-Inquiry... - I read this book every 5 years and each time I find something completely new. It's a remarkable work.




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