TLDR – reflection on why I love running. This topic comes up from time to time, and it might not have been my first time thinking through it
While driving my friend to the airport over the weekend, my friend asked me a question I think deserves a good answer. She was someone I haven’t talked to since the beginning of Pararoma (coded). Actually, we might have stopped communicating since I started running about 6 years ago.
During the trip to the airport, She asked an important question of why? Why do I run or why I love running so much? Or maybe why my love of running is more than spending time with my friends and family. Why I place running above so many things? Not sure if it was just a small talk conversation to avoid the silence, but it got me thinking.
I kind of have an answer and not really. I think probably the heart of the matter is similar to the question Jesus asked Peter, Do you love me more than these (referring to Peter’s career as a fisherman), when Jesus reaffirmed Peter’s love after the betrayal and ressurection. My mom often tells me the same thing — to help me realize I shouldn’t make running as my life goal but that the love of God is. To me more and more, running is my purpose and calling.
The simple reason is I love it. Other reasons follow. If I don’t run, what else would I be doing?
Before I started into running, I spent my time for other things as watching movies and Japanese anime, and doing computer stuff or collecting music. I did run back then doing a mile here or there but never spent money on the sport!
I was a quiet person, and still am. I used to spent my weekend programming things and installing software. It was what I liked to do. It is like stripping down a car and rebuilding it back up. However, after I discovered about running, I don’t really have time for those other activities. I gave up on doing stuff on my computer. I only touch a computer because I needed to schedule my races or track my growth, nothing more.
I also run because I need it to train for a harder race. It is circular reasoning. I run so I could run more like doing a 200 mile race, or crossing Tennessee for real or even doing a Forest Gump style crossing the country USA. I do usually run so I can keep on running. Nothing scared me more than signing up for a race…because it means months of training. Fear is a big motivator for me.
Running, gets me to reflect on things. It is my meditation time. I would not want to give this up. For some reason, maybe running is the only time I am away from everything, my work, responsibilities, worries and concerns. Usually if possible I am away from civilization. Sometimes, I stop carrying a phone. Maybe it is only time I could slow down. I know not many have this kind of luxury.
Running shouldn’t be the time to hit the pause button, but life is so busy. I always felt not able to catch up. Running somehow becomes my only time to stop and be isolated for a good time. I feel so much being recharged coming back from my runs.
Meeting with my friend brought up a lot of thoughts especially what if scenarios if I had not found running. Where had my six years of life gone? My long 9 hour race the next day gave me enough time to cool down. This was just one example why I needed running. Maybe I am using running to cope with life’s complexity.
Note, they usually are not a problem, but sometimes things in life have a way of asking why not this way or not that way. Running let me sort them out and true, to forget them too. After my run, I felt so much better.
Yes, I could be better at using my time and energy in other things like how to be better at making more money or how to improve myself. Why running is better than a million other things? That I don’t know. We each have a very limited amount of time available. We all have to make intentional decision how we use it.
I could just run one or two marathons each year now with minimal effort (short training cycle). However, if I want to do trail marathons (100 miles and such) I need to put in that big commitment. The bottom line is is it worth it?
There were many things I enjoy on my run such as being outdoor, being with friends, and being able to celebrate with other accomplishments.
Also for me, if readers haven’t realized, I like to plan things and see things fall into places. Running allows me to test my planning skills. I don’t claim to be the world best planner, but it is something I have control over. I love it. It allows me to be foolish and try so many “new” ideas out there. It is like an ocean for me to explore. Things relating to a race have to work perfectly down to the minute and hour and every mile so on. I like being an “expert” on my body to to push it to perform. I call it self hacking.
True, my mom always say I am not an robot, there is a limit. I know. She always tell me to run just one or two marathons a year, but I would do it every weekend if I have the means. She would read me news of people who died while running a marathon, including the first Greek guy. I would say, the first guy allegedly ran over couple hundred miles from Athen to Sparta (and back) and not just 26.2 miles from the city Marathon to Athen as most believe (well there are several versions of the story). Marathon distances used to break me too, but now they are considered a short distance to me because I believe I could run more than a marathon.
What is my limit? I think it can be stretch. I hope to reach deep. I told my mom, my true goal is to do a 200-mile. She wanted to spank me (jokingly). My mom does not want me to hurt myself. I am sure I won’t. It is very hard to “break” the body by running. There are many things that can hurt me, but running is not one of them. I’m a softie, but I believe running won’t break me.
My conversation with my friend made me feel sad (reflective) in a good way. It was weird how fast time flies. I knew her back in 2014, 8 years ago. Things have changed now. It made me reflect on several other friends I had somehow I were very close these eight years and how they changed as well and probably one of the few that remains as friends.
The question then, do I ever regret getting into running. I could have been a very different person if I had not found out about running. I don’t think I am regretting it. I enjoy running as it is and the new friends and culture I was led into. I might have been a weirdo, maybe I still am, but my running friends have become my community. I am less weird.
Can I stop running one day? Probably, but why, right? One joy I have while being out on the trail over the weekend, was I am glad I don’t have family to tie me down. It was the joy of being free. I don’t need someone’s permission. I can have every weekend being out on the trail. These last 6 years have been my most free and satisfied time in my life. Family is good, and I understand it is not an either-or option. It is that I have one less thing being responsible for.
So when asked why do I run, I just do and I enjoy it. I could tell a long history like this, or simply I love it. There were many other answers or reasons but I think I simply love running.
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