“Why I Run”
Note: I’ve been running (ha ha) around this topic for over a month because my answer kept changing. And I didn’t want to publish something unless I felt 100% comfortable with it, leading to many revisions. At the same time, you could edit your writing forever. So I’ve given myself a hard deadline to finish this post. Here is the result.
Recently a former teacher/current friend asked, “If you couldn’t run for a month, would you go crazy?” I thought about it for a second and responded, “No, not really.” Which may seem odd, given how I’ve spent much of my free time over the past seven months. In a nutshell: I ran. A lot. Since September 2014, I’ve participated in 10 running events: four 5Ks, two 10Ks, one 12K, one 15K and two half marathons. And that doesn’t count all the running I’ve done in preparation for a race or just cuz. So, I reflected on my friend’s question a bit more.
I used to frequently complain that I “hated” running, followed by the rhetorical question, “What’s the point?” At least if you’re playing a sport, there’s a purpose to the running, right? Touchdown, fast break
dunk layup, scoring from second base. But after all the pure running I’ve done, I clearly don’t hate it anymore–doing something that makes me miserable would be a horrible way to spend my evenings and weekends. So I’ve thought more about the question and arrived at some answers.
Here are some of the major reasons why I run:
1. It’s simple to do
If you can walk, you can run. Just move your legs faster. Viola! You’re running! You don’t need any special equipment or clothes or venue or anything. You probably got everything you need to go for a run now. Run around the block, or heck, run in place in your living room–same idea. I exaggerate a bit of course; if you just took a shower, you probably don’t want to get all sweaty right now. And if you’re wearing heels, it will probably be more difficult and uncomfortable than if you had sneakers on. Point is, you can go running anytime, and the convenience factor is nice.
2. It’s practical
Running has practical applications to your life. Like, being able to swing a baseball bat or golf club might help you chop down wood in a forest, but I fail to see how that swinging motion makes sense in a modern urban lifestyle. But if you can run, you can chase down a bus (which I’ve done before–it was sweet. I Tweeted about it). Or if a cute girl drops some papers and the wind blows them away, you can run’em down, give’em back to her, and she’ll be so impressed that she’ll treat you to a cup of coffee (I’ve never done that before, but I’m ready–it also sounds sweet, and I would also Tweet about it).
3. It’s an excuse to eat a lot
I know nothing about nutritional science. I know lots about eating. Specifically, I know I love eating carbs, aka, one of the most delicious food groups because it includes bread, rice, and noodles. And from what I’ve heard and read, carbs should be eaten in abundance before a long run (I’m no expert, I just go with what the experts say). Life is all about tradeoffs, and if I need to run so I can gorge on delicious carbs–while still maintaining the physique I desire–that’s fine with me. Now, it may not be OK with me when I’m older, but for now, I can live with that.
There are other reasons too: You have an excuse to wear bright, flashy colors, which is great for a peacock like myself. And I also hear running is “good” for your health, and health is important too, I suppose–I’ve never seen my circulatory system, but I reckon keeping that in tip-top shape will benefit me. But here is the number one reason why I run:
It is an intensely personal endeavor, and you–and you alone–decide how far you go.
For me, running reflects more of the mental fortitude of a person rather than physical strength–it reveals how much effort and sacrifice a person is willing to make to accomplish a goal. Unlike other physical activities or sports, running is a pretty level playing field. Basketball, you are at an inherent advantage for being taller; football, strong; baseball, golf, tennis, hand-eye coordination. And yes, I know some people are “better” or more “natural” runners than others, but really, just think about what the act of running is: You moving your two legs at a quicker pace in order to reach a destination. That’s it, whether it’s a sprint, jog, or long run.
At the end of the day, you can’t blame anything or anyone else for your time: You choose how far and fast you go. Besides your physical training, you must also be just as strong mentally to keep going. Ultimately, you are competing against the one person whose opinion should matter the most: yours. It’s a battle, it’s a grind, but you completely control your fate, and in my life experience, I’ve found that all you can really ask for is the chance to give your best shot. Running gives me the opportunity to keep improving what my “best shot” is.
Keep on pushing the pile, friends!