It seems as though it would be rather rude of me to not address the title of my blog. For anyone that doesn't know, I like running long distances. Ok, so some days I don't like it as much as others... but for the most part, I find much satisfaction in a really long run.
I began running when I was a freshman in high school. The next four years brought many cross country 3 mile races and track meets where I mostly ran the 800m or 4x800m relay. It was sometime in college that I became fascinated with the idea of running a marathon, and I finally made it a reality when I ran the Country Music Marathon the Saturday before graduation. I recently ran that same marathon again, and I'm already thinking about marathon No. 3. Of course, I sprinkle in some half-marathons and 10-milers here and there as I'm not really interested in running 26.2 miles every weekend, or even every month.
There are many reasons for running... it keeps me in shape, I never feel guilty about what I eat, and other obvious things such as this. But really, it's about so much more. It's about feeling the wind (or the a/c at the gym) on my face. It's about setting out to do something and then accomplishing it (every single time you hit the pavement). It's about knowing that you're absolutely insane when you're running 20 miles outside and it's snowing... or doing 17 on a treadmill because it's snowing too much. And in many ways, it's about how running is so representative of this life we live... there are easy moments and hard moments. There is the uphill and the downhill. There can be moments of solitude and moments surrounded by people. The start and finish lines. The pain and the joy. The good days and the bad days. I can think of no better metaphor for our life than that of the marathon.
John J. Kelley (famous runner with 4 Boston marathon wins under his belt) once said, "We runners are all a little nutty, but we're good people who just want to enjoy our healthy, primitive challenge. Others may not understand running, but we do, and we cherish it."
That is so true. Running is a challenge. I like challenges. And after every race, you can always pick a new one to challenge yourself with next time.
I read recently in an article on happiness something that I thought was so simple and so true: "When you commit to a goal, you're showing faith in your ability to create your own reality rather than merely reacting to life's ups and downs" (Tal Ben-Shahar). When I set a goal for running and I go after it, it reminds me that I have the power to do that with the rest of my life, too. That's what much of running is for me... believing in myself that I really can get out there and do anything I want to do and that I can find a way to handle everything that life throws my way. Good ole Coach Evans always reinforced this idea when he'd remind us before races that "it's all in the state of mind."
Happy running... or whatever it is that you may do.