Why I Run

As you can probably imagine, this entire blog is one way of answering the question, “Why do I run?”  The posts found herein (hopefully) help answer that question in an incremental, day-by-day kind of way.  But, I wanted to make sure that I dedicate one page to answering the question fully.

So, here it is.  Why I run:

  1. It’s a reminder to me that good things take time.  I work in the internet world as a career and I do love it, however it gives me (and others, I believe) the mistaken notion that everything can be immediate.  Expectations become immediate, results are expected immediately, then people can’t figure out why they’re unhappy.  Ask yourself this question:  “How many ads for ‘get skinny in one week’ or ‘lose that belly fat without exercising’ or ‘your kid can learn to read in 5 hours’ or ‘have the virility of a 19 year old’ products do you encounter in your daily life?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  The key word in that question is products.  We now expect that we can take a pill, listen to a tape, or buy a video and our problems will be solved.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that technology hasn’t improved our lives or saved us time.  But I do think those improvements in speed are mostly areas where the extra time spent was of no value.  Spending time finding car insurance provides no long term value.  Learning to read, getting fit and healthier, learning to throw a baseball, doing your multiplication tables, becoming a good father, learning to play the guitar, becoming more patient and loving are all valuable.  Spending time on these attributes pays off for the rest of your life.  But none of them will happen tomorrow.  Running reminds me of that.  Every day that I try to be a bit better at valuable things makes me a better person.  Every time I go out for a run, whether a long run or just a quick one to get my heart going, builds a better me.  I can’t shortcut any of those valuable traits, and running keeps me grounded to that fact.
  2. Fact #1:  Life is difficult and life is full of joy.  Fact #2: You must be able to take both with grace, because fact #1 is an immutable law.  I am reminded of these facts every time I step out the door for a run.  Some days I feel like I’m floating above the road and can’t imagine a more satisfying activity.  The path is effortless and even the uphills seem rewarding.  Other days it feels like every step I take is an absolute grind.  And my knee hurts or I get a stitch in my side and the whole run is pain.  Again, to me, running is a reminder of the very real things in life.
  3. I want to set a good example for my children.  The first two items in this list provide valuable life lessons for my boys and when they see me getting my running shoes on, they see that I won’t just pay their importance lip service, but I’m actually out there really doing it.  This is also the reason I love to have either or both of them along with me.
  4. I want to set a good example for my wife.  My wife is the most loving person I have ever met, and I owe it to her to keep working at being a better husband.  Running helps me do that.
  5. I am a huge believer in habits.  Habits are incredibly hard to create and incredibly hard to break.  The big question is, “What habits are you going to form?”  Good ones?  Or bad ones?  Too many times in my own life, I’ve blinked and found two years have passed since I had told myself I should _______ (fill in the blank of a good habit).  Now, it’s difficult for me to let a day go by without running because it has become such a habit.  So, what’s it going to be?  Getting outside and giving your heart a workout, or sitting and watching Seinfeld re-runs?  Disclaimer:  I love Seinfeld re-runs.
  6. When I’m running, I do better at other things in my life that affect my health.  It’s so much easier to eat better and sleep better when I’m running because, when faced with ice cream or chocolate chip cookies, I’ll tell myself, “Don’t sabotage your progress.”  That isn’t to say I completely avoid those things, I’ll just handle them with moderation.  And sleeping is a snap on days that I run.

So that’s it.  The long form version of why I run.