Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why Do You Run?

Why Do You Run?

Hmmm, that's a good question and it's one that I’ve been asked a number of times; most of the time by others and occasionally by myself. Most of the time the answers are easy to come by but there are days I wonder why. Only recently have I reluctantly admitted that I am indeed a runner. That title always seemed to belong to someone else but the reality is that I’ve always been a runner! In the neighborhood, on the playground, in the house, on the track team, up and down the field and court, or in the backyard – I’ve always run. But not this kind of running!

But I don’t run just to run. In fact, if I had to run a few miles worth of circles 3 times a week at the track I would quit! Maybe those folks are the "real" runners, but I can't do it. I like to run different neighborhoods, wooded trails, and new places. In fact, I make it a point to try to not run the same place, pace, or distance any consecutive runs. Variety is the spice of life, you know!

But why this kind of running and why now at this age? Why 12 mile runs and 30 mile weeks? Why would anyone run for 2 hours? I know, I know - we look like we’re in pure misery running down the road and it does beg the question “why”? I recently heard, “Why would anyone want to run a marathon?!” Why would I risk ferocious fidos, distracted drivers and endure the pains, aches, injuries, and blisters? Why run in the ice (tricky), snow (kinda fun), and torrential rain (strange looks)? Good question and believe me I asked it a few times myself!

Well, I don’t run for the health benefits. I am in the best shape of my life, but there has to be better ways to stay healthy than endurance running. It isn’t for the endorphins. The fabled “runners-high” does exist and I can tell when it hits because I begin to sing aloud (and loud) with my MP3 player! But that doesn’t last long enough to make it a compelling motivation.

I run because…

I enjoy being outside! I have yet to find weather bad enough to make me prefer the treadmill. Rain, cold, and heat are all better options than running nowhere. Even when the weather is "bad", this is still a beautiful world!

I enjoy peace and solitude! People with annoying or silly questions will seldom expend the energy it takes to chase me down. Telemarketers can't get me out there either.

I enjoy being alone with my thoughts! It’s amazing how running opens up the mind and the thoughts flow so freely.

I enjoy self-discipline! When I am disciplined in one area of life I am in all.

I enjoy racing! I fell in love with the competition and camaraderie of a race my very first 10K.

I enjoy seeing new places! Running is the best way to get the lay of the land in places like Chimala, K’Songo, San Juan, Joburg, and Lakewood.

I enjoy goals! To set goals for training and racing and then working towards them keeps me motivated with worthwhile ambitions.

I enjoy learning! Pushing yourself may be the best way to know self and to learn the lessons of life. Mile 24 will teach you lessons that you didn’t know existed.

I enjoy being in motion! I am happiest when I am moving, being, and doing.

Yes, I am a runner and I do enjoy it!

That’s all for now - gotta run!

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