Why I run
June 16, 2012
Why do I run? I often ask myself that question. I have discovered there is no one reason. Each day, each run there seems to be a different reason. Sure you could probably lump the various motivations down to a few categories, but I like to think each run is unique.
I didn’t technically run in high school. I played lacrosse and my running was usually limited to conditioning which included around a two mile run once a week around the grounds of Cranbrook. In order to stay in shape when during the off-season I would every now and then run around the grounds which was a good workout as I doubt there was a more than 100 yards of level running on the grounds of the campus. I did run track one spring, just long enough to go on the legendary spring track trip down to Chapel Hill with Scott Lebo, Christopher Shilts and Mark Kring, but that is a story for another post.
After high school I would occasionally run around the University of Arizona campus. I think this was more about looking at girls than actually fitness. I mean I was 6′ 140 pounds, I was by no means needing to stay fit. After graduation I ballooned to 195 pounds when I started the sedentary office life often called “real life”. To lose weight I decided to run again and signed up for a 5K in Marina del Rey to inspire me. I have no idea what time I ran it in other than remembering being passed by a girl who couldn’t have been more that 8. A couple of years later I ran the famous Hermosa Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10K and returned to the couch for another seven years.
This is the point when I started running consistently. I decided I was going to start running with the goal of running the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon. One of those I want to do before I turn 40 kinda things. I was only 34 so I was ahead of the game. I went out and ran that day. My first run was a success – I ran for 16 minutes and it was tough. I figured I must have run about 2 and a half miles based on that time. I felt good. Well until the next morning when driving to work I discovered I actually ran just shy of one mile. I stuck with it and runs were a chore and I would countdown until I was done. Two more miles…one more mile…1/2 mile…4 blocks… 2 blocks…8 houses…3..driveways…done! I remember when I completed a 5 mile long run I concluded that 10 miles was an impossible task. I was running, but I wasn’t liking it by any mean. I couldn’t wait for my marathon so I could never run again. Well unless I was being chased by a zombie or fleeing a bear attack. Oh wait, I think you are supposed to play dead for bear attacks. Sorry for digressing.
One evening after work I had an 8 mile run scheduled. As with each long run by this point, this would be the farthest I had ever run. Something clicked that night and instead of counting down, I simply transcended into the moment and just enjoyed running. When I completed I was actually disappointed.
Now I have run eight marathons, a bunch of half marathons and too many 10K and 5Ks to count. Some days I still count down miles and streets, some days I am running a specific workout. At some point during most marathons I ask myself why I do this to me and swear it is my last one. But most runs I just head out the door and enjoy running.
I used to golf and would often think of all the things I would give up if necessary to keep playing golf. There were many days that I considered food, water and oxygen less critical to my existence than golf. I don’t play much golf these days, rather electing to head out the front door for a long run on the weekend than driving across town to play golf for 5 plus hours. I get all the same rewards from running that I used to get from golf. Running, like golf, is a battle within the self. However with running, you can’t blame poor performance on a bad bounce or rub of the green. You get out of running exactly what you are willing to put into it. No excuses.
Why do I run? There is no one reason, but there is an easy answer. I run because I am a runner.