When you read the headline, you might have been thinking this was going to be a wistful, semi-spiritual and groovy post about the soulful reasons I hit the pavement and trails.
This will not be that kind of post.
Don’t get me wrong, I can get wistful and groovy. But there’s a practical side of me that is, well, not nearly so soft and squishy. I think that sort of angle is needed when the discussion of “why we run” (which can get really squishy) comes up.
I got to thinking about it and came up with this little list:
I run for fitness. Yep, the most utilitarian reason of all. Walking can get you there, too, but not like running. Hitting the streets or trails for 20 minutes, an hour, two hours — that makes your heart, lungs, legs and core stronger. It consumes big-time calories. And for those of us who enjoy long hikes and tough climbs at altitude (my initial reason for taking up running), it’s unbeatable training.
I run because I like being outside. Hence the name of the blog. Notice the “outside” part. Running on a treadmill is just work to me, and I can’t stand it. If it’s 25 or 105 degrees, I’ll be out there because I don’t like being cooped up inside. I’m good with rain or snow. Running gives me an excuse to go outdoors and do something productive. Which brings me to…
I run because it keeps me sane. The length of a run, the steady rhythm of footfalls, the noise (or lack thereof) around me — it’s meditative. I think, unwind, relax and find that mood-enhancing endorphin high that keeps my mind from going in the tank. Believe me, it happens. I’d rather limit that without looking for a cure at the bottom of a bottle or some other vice that won’t do me any good. And if you like to pray, you can pray when you run. I do.
I run for beer. Really. I mean this literally and figuratively. Most races have free beer at the finish line. The calories I burn lets my pound down a cold frosty one or two without feeling guilty about it. That same calorie-burn also lets me eat foods that I like, which often turn out to be rather calorie dense. I weigh 183, and if it wasn’t for running, I’d be a dumpy 203.
I run for alone time. I love my peeps. I think I’m pretty social. But I’m wired in such a way that I need a little daily solitude. Hence most of my runs are solo jaunts. Conversely…
I run because you meet cool people within the endurance athlete community. Yeah, it’s kind of contradictory to the reason stated above. But on group runs, through races and in general, I’ve met some pretty great folks. I’ve even connected with many of you online through this blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. We’re all different, but we get each other.
I think that about does it. I could go at length about why I do the other things I do, but that would be overkill. Perhaps a discussion for another time. But for now, you have this. These are my reasons. What are yours?
On Twitter @RMHigh7088