Why do I run? I get asked that a lot. I have many reasons. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not something I particularly enjoy. At least not at first. Whether it’s swimming, cycling, running, or lifting, I spend the first 5 to 10 minutes trying to rationalize why I don’t need to do this today. It’s the laziness in me that still creeps up and tries to sabotage all the hard work I’ve put in. It’s the same laziness that justified sitting on the couch and wasting so many years of my life doing nothing. I’ve found it never really goes away, you just have to find the will to get past it. It’s much easier said than done. I find if I can just get through that first 10 minutes, everything changes. The soreness in my legs fades out. The burning in my lungs subsides. All of a sudden I’m not thinking about the effort it’s taking to move, but about everything else in my life. From the smart assed things I wish I’d said in past conversations, to the things I only dare to dream about accomplishing some day. It’s almost like drifting in and out of consciousness. I’m alert enough to know when to turn down the next street, but that’s about the extent of it. I find that as much effort as it takes to get started, it’s all worth it when I drift off to that other place. It’s peace in an otherwise quite chaotic day, and as much as my body might ache, it’s something I find I can’t do without.
Why do I run? I have a desire to compete. There’s no drifting in and out on race day. There’s only push. Push as hard as possible to be faster than last time. Every time I race my legs and lungs are on fire and I swear I’ll never do it again if I can just get through it. Then I cross the finish line and realize I beat my old PR, or I actually placed in my age bracket. Then quitting is not an option. Then my focus becomes “what can I do to beat what I did today”? By that afternoon I’m looking around for the next race I can sign up for.
Why do I run? Because for so many years I couldn’t. There’s something about doing something you couldn’t do yesterday that makes it feel that much more rewarding. It took me a very long time, and a whole lot of weight loss to build up enough endurance to run any significant distance. I won’t soon forget the sense of accomplishment I felt when I finally ran an entire 5k without stopping to rest. I must have tried and failed a dozen times. I actually screamed out loud. Everyone else in the park looked at me like I had lost my mind. After that I started to question myself. If I could do that, what else could I do? How far could I go? Could I go faster? It has almost become a game to me to see how far I can push my body before it just says no… And it does occasionally say no!
These are some of my many reasons. Maybe they’re somewhat valid, maybe they sound completely ridiculous to everyone but me. Either way I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.