Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Why I run

Awhile back I asked a friend to coach me on getting back into a running regiment. I wanted to start running again, I was just having some trouble getting going. This particular person coaching me isn't a runner, so one of the first questions he asked me - and ultimately the question I needed to answer for myself in order to begin running again - was... why do I want to run?

For me there are 3 main reasons I want to be a runner:

Running is meditative therapy for me.

I'm not what you would call a "social runner." I don't do it for fun; I don't do it as an activity; it's not really even something I enjoy just for the sake of running. However, when I am running well (or seriously), it is the highest of highs for me. When I am in 'running mode' I don't like to listen to music, or podcasts, or look at nature, or anything of the like. Actually, I count my breaths. I know that drives some people crazy, but that is where I lose/find myself. It's like meditation. I forget about everything else. I become lost in the moment. I don't know how else to describe a runners high in my book, but I find it's worth every straining second before and after.

Running connects my mind-body-spirit.

The second reason I like to and want to run is for the mind-body-spirit connection. We are physical beings, and exercise is good for us. For some it is more necessary than others. In my particular case, my emotional and spiritual health are closely knit to my physical health. At least for now. They seem to work together. When I don't exercise I tend to get lazy - all the way around. When I do exercise, it has the same effect in reverse. So it only makes sense. As far as why running... honestly, it's the cheapest and easiest way I know of to stay physically fit. It doesn't require anything but a pair of shoes. So, why not? Others enjoy biking, lifting, aerobics, or whatever. I suppose whatever works for you is the best.

Running simply makes me a happier and better person.

The third and final reason I run is because it simply makes me happier and better. I feel better about myself, I don't need to rely on medicines to control blood pressure or cholesterol and various other ailments, and I would guess the people around me think I'm better too. One thing my coach suggested I do was to visualize myself as I wanted to be. That was easy, because there are two pictures of myself that I already had in mind. In both pictures below I was at my peak as a runner. I was also at my best as a person. The biggest thing I notice, though, is the smile on my face. I know when I am genuinely happy and when I'm just smiling. I was very happy in those pictures, and I remember those as times when all was right with my world, and running was a large part of my life at those times.

So, while I understand that running is not for everyone (it's not), and that I may never be the fastest or best runner (I really don't care to be), and it's also possible that someday I may not be able to do it, for now at least, I want to be a runner because it is meditative therapy, it helps me stay connected mind/body/spirit-wise, and it helps me to be a happier and better person.