Sunday, July 4, 2010

Running: Why we do it...

This week I had a nagging question that simply would not leave my mind. It is one that intermittently enters my head and inevitably so as I continue to log more and more miles/hours running. The question is simple: "why do I run?"

This question is so obviously straightforward but often causes me to engage in erratic forms of circular reasoning. I struggle to express the answer in a lot of ways. Perhaps because the answer is so personal; innately selfish and only "mine" that I just cannot find the adequate depth of language to really convey how I feel. Or, perhaps I actually believe that my response is inadequate in many ways to justify my attachment (read obsession) to the activity.

Whatever the reason, I have come to realize that despite running being such a personal experience, the consequences of it can affect those around me and attached to my life in significant ways. I was always aware of this fact but I think I failed to appreciate the potency and magnitude of its force. When one commits, at the minimum 10-15 hours a week engaging in any form of activity they are bound to be either taking away from or worse, neglecting other aspects of their life. When it comes to running, this represents just the raw minimum; when in fact one must also consider the countless extracurricular activities associated to running (eg. recovery, massage, stretching, blogging, etc). Furthermore, the emotional and physiological ups and downs that occur during a span of logging some 300+ miles a month is itself a strenuous component. In this way, it is as though everything else becomes dictated by the single activity of running.

At a personal level I have accepted these as par-the-course; but what I ignored was the implications they have on those around me and the affect they have on other more important aspects of my life. I suppose in this way it all comes down to perspective and priority. Do I love to run: absolutely. Do I need to run: on some level, I think I actually do. But if it meant losing other aspects of my life that truly make me the person I am (relationships, family, etc), the answer would be simple and the choice would be easy and running would certainly find itself down on the priority list.

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