Hey folks! This past week I’ve gotten to chat with Arsenio Franklin, a recent marathon finisher who blogs about running, writing, and living with depression, among other anecdotes about life. In many communities of runners, there is (rightfully so) such a large focus on running that we forget to talk about the people inside of the running shoes. While we all lace up our sneakers and chase our own goals, it is so much more than just running. It is the motivations and the reasoning behind why we do so. I wanted to talk with Arsenio about these things – not just about the PRs, but the moments that make them matter.
Was there a moment that made you start running? And what was the process that took you from that very first run to turning you into a runner?
There wasn’t a single moment, but I started running to help with depression and anxiety. Treatment was helping, but I wanted to do everything I could. My days were better when I ran and I started enjoying it. Becoming an avid runner was not an expectation of mine. Part of the process of becoming a runner came from losing basketball. My knees were in such bad shape it wasn’t fun playing anymore. Running replaced basketball and I’m able to run without experiencing knee pain.
What keeps you running?
At first it was avoiding the dark place I had been in. Then it became something I did for the general mental and physical benefits. Now I run because I love it. I love seeing myself improve. I love the euphoric feeling of reaching a goal and thinking back on the hard work and training.
Share the happiest/most exciting/most emotional moment that you’ve experienced while running/racing/pre-or-post race?
I completed my first eight-mile run while training for a half-marathon. My wife biked beside me the entire time. When I finished the run she was crying. This long run was the first accomplishment I could be proud of in a long time. She said there was a point when I was at my worst that she wasn’t sure she would get me back. That moment sums up what running means to my life.
What does a typical week look like for you in terms of running and/or exercising?
If I’m not training, I run nearly every day. No speed, distance or time requirements. I try to do some quick strength exercises twice a week and I’ve been practicing yoga since I started running.
Since you’ve just run your first marathon (congratulations, by the way!), is there anything specific about the race that you’d like to mention or discuss?
Pace yourself, because the wall is real. The more energy you have left in the end, the better. After mile 20 I kept telling myself the pain is temporary and a choice. And after crossing the finish line, the joy from finishing is much stronger than the discomfort during the race.
Do you have anything planned in the near or distant future regarding more races?
I’ve already signed up for the 2019 Nashville Marathon and I plan on running another this fall.
Do you have an ultimate goal?
I wouldn’t say it’s a goal because I rarely think about it and it’s not something I actively work toward, but in the back of my mind I would love to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For my age that means running a 3:05 marathon. I’m a long ways off, but if trying my best and gradually improving gets me there, great!
Non-running related, what is your favourite past time?
Since I’ve started running and writing, it’s shocking how many people do both. Maybe because anyone can go for a run or start writing, but to do them well takes dedication and time. I was working in public relations when I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and I couldn’t do it anymore. After becoming functional again, I decided to give writing a try. I’m on the 3rd draft of my current novel and I self-published a horror novella last year, called Unholy Revelations. It’s on Amazon for a dollar and Kobo and Nook for free.
If you can think of one, share a fun anecdote about your life.
I will fight anyone who says professional wrestling is fake. It’s scripted, not fake.
Thank you so much to Arsenio, for taking the time to talk to me. If anyone else would like to chat, featuring fellow runners is something I’m really interested in continuing, so feel free to find out more here.
Until next time!