It's a question I'm asked often, especially when people hear some of the distances I enjoy to run. But, to be quite honest, I hate being asked that question for a couple reasons.... 1) It's a difficult question to answer in one sentence and 2) if I'm explaining it to someone who does not have an appreciation and/or understanding of running, they tend to dismiss my answer (not always) and call me crazy.
Well, I decided to take a little time a try to explain why I run. So here goes....
1) To take a break from reality. I'm amazed at how easily I can detach myself from reality when I go for a run. It's as if I check out from life and check back in when I take that last stride. Running can be a very liberating experience. Also, I connect the most with my dad when I'm out running. His presence is always more noticeable when I'm running. He is my source of strength and without him in my soul, I'd be only half the runner I am today.
2) Exploration. My favorite run is one where I have no set route. I just head out the door and go. It's nice to let the roads and paths lead you from time to time. You'd be surprise how much more you can discover when you're on foot.
3) My health. Stay active, stay healthy. Sit on your butt and, well...you get my point. I might suggest running to someone looking for something new to try, but I understand that some people don't find running appealing. If running isn't your thing, find an activity you do enjoy and STICK WITH IT! Your body will thank you later.
4) Self-Satisfaction. I said it in one of my previous blogs, but I'll say it again. The reason I run is for self-satisfaction. I'm doing this for no one but myself. Nobody told me to go out a run my first marathon over 3 years ago. I made that choice and was determined to complete that goal for me and me only. Since that first marathon, running has brought so much happiness to my life. Running was once a form of exercise... now, it's a lifestyle!
5) To test human endurance. As I said above, running is both physical and mental. The mental aspect of running is more prevalent on a long run (for me) than it is on a short one. When I reflect on my 12 hour endurance race, the last few hours of the race were so much more mental than physical. Sure, my body hurt like hell, but the pain was the least of my concerns. My mind was screaming at me to stop! For me, the biggest challenge of endurance is to ignore those thoughts. In the end, we always find out we can do more than we ever thought possible!
This is by far one of my favorite quotes about pushing your limits:
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali
6) To inspire others. I hope that my running inspires other to get out there and achieve their goals, be it a running one or any other type of goal. If you have the will, desire and passion, you can achieve any goal you set out to accomplish.
These are just some of the reasons why I run. Frankly, I could talk someones ear off about running if they cared to listen. But, I think this blog will have to do for now!