I guess it only makes sense to talk about why I run. It’s not something that I’ve ever given a lot of thought to and certainly not something I’ve put into specific words before now. That being said, if I’m going to have a running themed blog, it seems like a good place to start. At the very least, even if I don’t get any readers, it can at least be useful as a journal of sorts. As I have the attention span of kitten on Red Bull, I’m sure I will go off on tangents and occasionally forget to add new content for a few days, but I hope I will entertain people enough that they will stick with me and maybe even tell their friends about my blog. And if you don’t like it, maybe you can encourage people you don’t like to read it. Either works for me.
Back in the early 90’s, I was a runner. I competed through high school in both cross country and track and field. I also ran as many road races as I could squeeze in during the summer. I probably spent as much time racing as I did training but being young and stupid, my results were pretty good. Wisdom comes with age, they say. Like many runners before me and many more to come, I now wish I had taken training a bit more seriously. Not that I have regrets – more like “what if’s”.
Halfway through undergrad, I stopped running. Not gradually. Not for any reason that I can remember. For more than 15 years, I was a total non-runner. I graduated (three times in fact). Got married. Have two amazing sons. None of these things are excuses for why I stopped or things that prevented me from starting again. It’s more my very brief autobiography for years 1996-2011.
At age 35, I wasn’t happy. I was overweight. I ate poorly. I was depressed. Things would have been much worse if wasn’t for my wife and children, I’m certain. Everything within their control was amazing. Everything within mine was not. I realized I needed to take more responsibility for my own happiness and my own physical fitness and I knew that they were not mutually exclusive. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize how much I missed running and how good it was for me physically, mentally and emotionally. There were other sports I had been involved over the years, but none gave me the….serenity that running did.
I knew I had to lose weight first because it would be cruel to my knees, ankles, feet, etc etc to put them through the pounding of running at more than 50 pounds heavier than when I had previously been a runner. I also knew getting back to that weight was not going to happen – but there had to be some weight loss.
I ordered Insanity – a Beachbody DVD program by Shaun T. I knew paying for it meant I would use it. I love being challenged and I hate wasting money so it was a good choice. I did the entire program twice over the winter. Over those few months I started feeling better. I lost weight. And more weight and by spring , I was ready.
I invested in some good running shoes, put on some shorts and a t-shirt and off I went. I ran about 2 km (just over a mile) that first day and I can still remember it very clearly. It’s that feeling you get when you are in school and see your crush. Or when you see a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a long, long time. It’s more than butterflies. It’s not just happiness either. It’s the past and future all at once – the memory and the possibility. I’m sure it sounds even cheesier then it feels writing it, but it’s the best I can come up with.
I’m now almost 2 years into running career 2.0 and I think I’m in it for good this time. I’ve had a lot of significant things happen in the past few months, both exciting and scary, good and bad. But I’ve kept running and it has helped me immensely.
I run because I want to be healthy. To stay active and to keep physically and mentally sharp. I’ve been dealing with depression for a long time and only recently come to terms with that.
I run because I want to model certain behaviour to my sons, to encourage them and to be encouraged by them.
I run to find my solitude, my peaceful place and to just be with my thoughts.
I run because I love to sweat and the accomplishment I feel with every single mile.
I run because I am a runner.