Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why I run.

merunning I’m going to do my first cross-blog post involving both and my simplerunner blog over on blogspot. I’ve started running recently (First recorded run was on June 20th or so.) so it’s been slightly less than a month that I’ve been running.

I’ve been doing the Couch to 5k training program to ease me into being able to run a 5k race from being a couch rider who didn’t do much more than walk and hike. I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. The thing with running books, running podcasts, and stories about runners, is that they’ve always hit me on an emotional level. This isn’t true of all sports. I read and really liked The Blind Side by Michael Lewis but it didn’t resonate with me on an emotional level. I just really liked it.

Running for me though is something that is singular in the sports world to me… I know it’s not. Golf is all you too. But with Running there’s no technological advantage to be had by the wealthy. I don’t think you can buy your way into being a good runner. I do believe you can build a good football team with money. I also believe you can pour money into cars to have an edge in racing. Running though is a guy and the road and at some point it quits being about muscle and starts being about personal drive and desire.

There’s a point in running when the runner is running not on strength but on will power and those stories are the ones that hit me in the stomach. The story of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope makes me cry every time I hear it. He ran 3339 miles in 143 days and he only had one leg. The other’d been lost to cancer. Phedippidations, a running podcast that I enjoy a great deal and have listened to for hours for the past couple weeks, has a great podcast about Terry Fox.

When I was in college I ran. There was a track between the University of Montevallo where I first went to college and the off campus house I was living in. I would go at night, in secret and run around the track. I never ran very far, and I never ran very long. I remember listening to the soundtrack to Joan Lui while I ran though. Still when I listen to my favorite song from that album I remember those night time runs.

I never told anybody, and didn’t stick with it because I was afraid I wasn’t very good at it. I’d never run track in high school and if you ever look at runners while they’re running… they’re not beautiful creatures. Nor are they graceful or awe-inspiring. They’ve got a sort of zombie-like shuffle that they do, and their faces are either pale or flushed, and always glisten with an unhealthy wetness. I was far too self-conscious then to admit to anybody that I was a runner.

I’m still self-conscious but there’s something about it now that’s different. Something that hit me when I was playing golf with my Dad. There is only one thing I can think of that looks more ridiculous and laughable than a golfer’s posture and swing… and that’s doing it badly and looking like an idiot and still having to chase the ball. It dawned on me that day on the fairway that golfers don’t look stupid to other golfers unless they golf badly.

Running’s the same way. I’ll look tired. I’ll look like I’m shuffling along and look nothing like the tall lithe Kenyans who break land speed records. But I’ll be doing something that I’ve wanted to do for over 20 years but was too embarrassed to do because of what other people would think. What a stupid waste of my time.

So. I run. I love to run. I like finding limits and pushing them. I like that I’m doing something that most people don’t/won’t do. I’m not doing it for my health or to lose weight. I expect it will improve my health and my weight’s not bad enough to really bother me that much. I’m doing it because I like it. I like it outside, and I like how I feel after I’ve run.

I’m going to run a 5k race in the spring. I don’t know where or when yet but I’m going to. I haven’t got a goal time yet either. But I want to run at least one 5k in spring and maybe a 10k in the fall. I doubt I’ll ever be good enough to run a marathon, but by next year I wouldn’t rule out a half-marathon if the running gods smile on me.

If you decide to run, or if you’re a runner, I’d love it if you’d drop me a line, say “Hi” or even point me towards some more good running podcasts or websites I might find helpful. Like I said. I’m a complete newbie to this running thing and while I enjoy it, it doesn’t mean I’m doing it right at all and I can use all the help I can get.

Thank you all for reading this. I know it was longer than my usual blog posts. Take care of yourselves and the ones you love.

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