For whatever reason, this question has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks from a couple of different angles.
Masumi, a runner who blows my brain on a regular basis, seems to be his usual contemplative self.
Why do you run?….was curious….three reasons why you run please in no specific order….I’ll comment on mine later….no doubt we all have some of the same reasons….and also some contrast….carpe diem
Then there is Carey, owner and Ultimate Badass Warrior of Daughtry ATA Martial Arts.
I have a lot of FB friends who run. I don’t see what is so great about running… it seems boring and tedious to me… (then again, I like to punch and kick stuff) but there has to be more to it for so many of you to do it. So, I’d love to know why you enjoy it, why you do it…? I’ll tag as many as I can recall, but I know there are more of you… I’d love to take a look into your world… because you have me curious. Would you please share? 😀
Did you notice that little smiley thing at the end? She put that there because she just knows she talked smack about my sport. Which I love. And then tagged me in the post. But I will overlook it because she really doesn’t mean it. And I love her. And she can kick my ass.
The answer is kinda hard and it took me a while to chew through it. Truth is, I still don’t think I have the answer yet. More specifically, I don’t think I will ever have the answer. It, unlike the finish line, is a constantly moving, sentient being with its own existence. Sounds a little woowoo, I know. Distance running is a little woowoo.
I started running because it was the simplest thing I could do. Upright? Check! Ready? Check! Go? Check! That’s all it takes. If anyone tells you any different, they are selling something. Or trying to squash something. Or trying to pretend to be something.
I have, at the moment of this writing, narrowed it down to three things as requested by Masumi. And no, they are not three things I mentioned in response to his original facebook post
Not necessarily in that order…while important…however, of course I jest.
I run for…Runner’s Ass
Seriously. This is a condition that directly counteracts another condition known as “I was born a long time ago and I have a ton kids” Ass. I was working on the latter. I prefer the former.
In all seriousness (even though I said “seriously” just now when I was being less than serious), running reminds me that my body wants to be strong. Whether it is or not is a choice I make. Daily. My body wants to be healthy, capable, prepared, ready. My body wants to channel Gus from that Kevin Costner baseball movie. Not Bull Durham – the other one.
The boys are all here for you. We’ll back you up, we’ll be there, because, Billy, we don’t stink right now. We’re the best team in baseball, right now, right this minute, because of you. You’re the reason. We’re not gonna screw that up. We’re gonna be awesome for you right now. Just throw.
So I just run.
I run for…Runner’s Spirit
This is not to be confused with its sister condition, Runner’s Brain. I wanted to clarify this distinction as many folks outside of the running community – especially outside of the ultra running community – regularly doubt the idea that we have one. Throw in the fact that you are training for a 50 miler, in Beaufort, in July – all doubt ceases.
There is something about running distance. Something about working your body that hard for that long. Something about being alone with yourself in that state for extended, regular periods of time.
It is damn near impossible not to eventually have the “Am I a good person?” question come up in your head. Any runner who says different…well, I think that’s just not likely.
This question is usually accompanied by…am I good enough… am I strong enough…have I earned it…was I wrong…did I do it right…can I do it again…interestingly enough, the subject of these questions are hardly ever about running.
If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.
~Chris McDougall, Born to Run
I run for…Runner’s Family
This trait is multifaceted.
First, there is the DNA family. Few things are cooler than watching your husband beam with pride when he tells your last race story. Or your 6 year old finishing her first 5k and the 15 year old her first mud run. Or your rockstar sister calling asking for running advice. Or your Pops considering it for himself. Or your sister in law showing more heart and determination than she thought she was ever capable of. Seeing these things and knowing you had a small hand is rewarding to say the least.
Then there are the support folks. The poster board makers, the crowd cheerers, the road liners. There are the aid station folks. God bless the aid station folks. Being able to see unselfish behavior that strives to do nothing more than raise up and support the ability of another. Yeah, that’s living.
Then there is my mileage family. Those folks that will get up at dark to go with, bring the Fizz when you forgot, cry with you when you are injured, console you when you are down, kick your ass when it is time to get back up, drive for hours just to race with you, wait at the finish line to cheer you on when they themselves are so tired they just want a bath. I believe being around greatness is a key to being a better person…these folks make me a better person.
So, for today…I am going to go for a run…and that’s kinda why.
Post Script ~ before the baseball gods descend on my calves during my run, yes, I know that the movie is called For the Love of the Game. It is, in fact, one of my all time favorite movies. But that didn’t feel nearly as funny…