Yesterday evening I came across a Facebook status in my news feed that left me puzzled. For some reason, it bothered me quite a bit and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It went along the lines of this:
My immediate reaction was, “I don’t get why you wouldn’t want to run.” Of course I didn’t post this. I realize that not everyone shares my love of running. And, while I wanted to respond, I didn’t know how to put into words my love for running. It really got me thinking … why do I run? (Dan’s immediate response was “I think you’re just Born to Run.” Cliché, but maybe he’s right).
Sometimes it’s nice to step back and remind ourselves of why we run. Running is clearly a core part of my life, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without it.
One of the things that I love about running is that I can do it alone. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company of others. But it’s during a few hours of solitude every couple of days that I get to do some deep thinking, character building, gut checking, and dreaming.
I think about a lot of things while I’m running. I think the most about the events in my life and how they have shaped me. I also think a lot about my health and extending my quality of life as long as possible. One of my favorite parts of running a race is seeing the 70 and 80 year old men and women running healthy and happy all the way to the finish line. I imagine being like them someday and inspiring others around me without saying a single word, just like they have inspired me.
I can pray and think and relieve stress. Some days, looking forward to my run is what motivates me to get out of bed and put in the effort that life requires. Something about my feet rythmically hitting the pavement settles something deep in my soul. I feel like when I am running, I am the best of who I am. I feel strong, confident, and satisfied.
Running also teaches me to endure. I remember running my first marathon. Suddenly, being “tired” didn’t mean shit. The perspective shift is dramatic once you reach that point of exhaustion. What used to be a struggle becomes a routine and you realize that these lessons in endurance become core to all aspects of your life.
Running has been a gift. It’s taught me to appreciate my time alone and to use it to think about the things in life that are valuable to me. I’ll continue running until my body no longer lets me.