Why Do I Run?

I have been away from this blog for too long. For those of you who have come back to read this, I thank you. There are a myriad of reasons I have gone MIA. Abby surprised me with a vacation. I had a birthday. I have had two exploratory medical procedures to find out why my stomach has been having problems. And, I’m busy planning a wedding.

All of these are fine enough excuses to have lost some time on my blog, but the most realistic reason that I haven’t posted lately is because I was knocked off of my routine of one post a week and I haven’t gotten myself back on track. Allowing myself to get knocked off of track is a bad habit that I’ve had my entire life and it’s one that I’m determined to break. I have a great little write-up of the trails I’ve walked in Rock Creek Park ready to be finished and posted soon, as it was almost ready when I got knocked off track, but I felt like a different post deserved my attention today.

See, my running and working out suffered while I was knocked off of track, as well. Working out helps me to stay strong, to look the way I’d like, and to ensure my body is in the shape I’d like for my hiking, camping and any other activity I’d like to try. Running, however, has me hooked.

For one, running is what I turned to when I quit smoking. It’s a reminder that I’ve made the choice to live a healthier lifestyle. I could literally feel my lungs getting healthier as I ran, and that has proven personally valuable.

Rock Creek Park. Northwest, District of Columbia.

Rock Creek Park. Northwest, District of Columbia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second reason is because I can run outside. I can be in the sun with wind flowing past me. I can run past people on the streets or on the trails nearby and wave with a smile, helping me feel a better part of the community. Living in an apartment, and unable to put into work my plan to work outside with battleropes, kettlebells and whatever other manly metallic objects I can lift, I am forced to work out in a sweaty and dank gym. I can’t complain as it allows me to get my lifting in, but running gets me outside. I work in an office, and being outside in invaluable.

The third, and most important reason, why I am hooked on running is because it is hard and it makes me want to quit all the time. Running forces me to confront, with every step and with every mile, the little part of my mind that says I’ve worked hard enough, that I’ve done enough for the day. In other words, it forces me to confront the part of my mind that wants to knock me off of track.

To overcome this part of my mind, I set a general route before I begin running, then I take my first step. I run up a small incline to begin my run almost every time. Almost every time, my body shouts back, “Why aren’t we just walking?” I push on, telling myself that walking isn’t good enough today. Usually, my body warms up to the run and I can complete the run just on momentum. Some days, however, my body never warms to the run. It’s these days that I really feel the pull to stop, to cut the run short, and to make an excuse.

Why do I run? Because I know that I get knocked off of track. Because I know that I can be my own worst enemy. And because by running, I know that I have the will power to overcome my own shortcomings. I can think of no better reason.

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