I know perfectly well why I do things like running a marathon or backpacking over the weekend. People around me think I am suffering when I am really
enjoying the things I do.
Yes running is not always easy. There is ‘pain’ like when I twisted my ankle doing a race this year and it never really ‘heal’ correctly because I kept on twisting it every couple months. Pain is not just physical pain. Running, sometimes I run on an empty stomach. This is almost every night after I get after work, when most people would go home and have dinner, I go home to run. And I’m hungry. Yes, they say don’t run on an empty stomach, but I rather run on an empty stomach than a full one, because when I’m full I don’t feel like running. Ya, they say wait and hour or two after meal before excercing, but then by that time it is like 9/10 at night and who want to run around in the cold.
Running in the cold is unavoidable given where I live, we have winter and it gets cold. I’m not complaining, at least where I live it is a temperate zone. People around me think it is cold, but we runners ‘tough’ it up and run any way. Indeed there isn’t a day when it is so cold that no one is running. but still people around me think runners are crazy. They ask why are you doing this?
Distances. When you talk about 5k, 10k, 10-miler, 13.1, 26.2 and soon I will be mentioning 50k, or 50 miler, the number is just incomprehensible. Those who have done a 5k know what it means. Many haven’t even done a mile since their days in school. They said why are you torturing yourself? Is it torture? I quite enjoyed my last marathon. It was 4 and half hours of relaxation. I felt I could do it any weekend. That might be a little bit of an exaggeration. Sure it takes months of training and I lost a couple toenails, but it is not really that bad. I won’t say anyone can do it, but I feel almost anyone if they are willing to train for it they would be able to do it. I don’t think it is a physical limiting ability. I guess it comes down to enjoyment/interest. Many people told me they can’t run. They tried they said, but can’t. Ok. I guess it is not their cup of tea. In a sense, why I can run 26 miles is really amazing to them. For me it is as easy as breathing.
I did tell this to people but still they think I got to be crazy – no thanks, they say, they don’t think running 20+ miles is anything enjoyable. Some people get it saying ah, you have runner high. Kind of. I do get some kind of endorphine release after running, but I think it is more than that as the reason why I run. If it is just some kind of chemical then there is a better/more efficient way to feel the ‘high’. I really just love to run.
I guess it is the solitude. And to be with nature.
This is pretty much the same answer why I hike or why I backpack. There is a sense of accomplishment. Not because these kind of activities are challenging but because there are beauty in them. I love being outdoor. I love to able to use my strength and ability.
So when people ask me whether I expect ‘something’ new as I am about to cross another milestone in life (getting older – turning 40), really no. I just want to be able to keep doing and to do more of the things I like.
I have a long bucket list. Many are ‘easy’ to do, not too many of them are impossible … I don’t know if any are impossible. (I will share one here, such as hiking the whole AT, I gave it like a 5% chance i will able cross this off the list). Only limiting factors are time and money and opportunity. I want to do as many of them as possible in the next decade.
My time when I have strength to do these kind of things is short. Maybe in 10 years or 20 years, will I still have the physical capability to do them? I already estimated that in the next 5-10 years, how many big life-changing trekking trips can I do? Will not that many (0-3).
I set my goal to run in all fifty states, do an Ironman, do the AT, might hike the Pantagonia, visit the continental divide/Pacific Trail. The sky is really high, and I know I won’t be able to do everything there is to do.
I’m posting this maybe some of you out there can relate. I pretty much know why I do things. I don’t have to tell myself why I am enjoying certain activities. This is more for you guys.
(Day 2.2 end)