Friday, May 27, 2011

Why Run?

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." ~ John Bingham

Why run? Over the years this is a question many have asked me and to be quite honest, sometimes, I have even asked myself! When I try to answer the question, I cannot say or pinpoint one specific reason. Nor has there been some surreal epiphany of some sort that directed me to purchase running shoes. Seeing that I have only been 'running' just a little over decade, I can't say that I loved running, and have been trying to reconnect with my youthful track days. I was a wrestler, not a runner and running was NOT my favorite thing to do. Running was just a vehicle that helped to condition me to become a better wrestler. Back then, our wrestling practices started with running, and ended with running, but it was more of a drudgery and a way to lose weight than a love affair.

So, again, the question, "Why run?", begs an answer! But the answer to the question is just as elusive as it is concrete. I have found the act of running itself has produced a plethora of mind boggling and even life changing answers to this question. Some of the answers are easy and yet, some of the answers are contained only within the act of running itself. There is a 'freedom' that can only be enjoyed and explained within the actual act of running itself. To a certain extent, running is a paradox. It is a self-contradiction of extreme opposites. On the one hand, running is not fun, but it is enjoyable. Running can be painful, but also euphoric. Running causes mental anguish, and yet it clears the mind! Ahhhh, the 'joys' of running!

If the truth be known, maybe, somewhere in the origins of the movement of running are the seeds of understanding life itself. Running is a metaphor of life and life is a metaphor of running. Running is a parable of life itself! There are so many physical attributes of and in running that relate to the spiritual dynamics of life itself. From hydration, food, diet, and nutrition to the more ambiguous principles of perseverance, consistency, dedication, and habit...these can all be understood in a deeper spiritual sense through the 'act' of running. Maybe this is why the Apostle Paul said, "Run, that you may obtain"! He didn't say sit and meditate. He didn't say chant and light candles. He didn't say watch television and eat ice cream to obtain, but he said, RUN, that you may obtain the prize!

There is no doubt in my mind the human body was built to move, to exercise, to run! Yet, most of us, live a very sedentary life of little or no amount of movement at all. Many people, when they hear about my running adventures, they laugh it off with a remark about how they 'run' to the mailbox and back, and thank God its me doing the running and not them. I am quick to laugh with them and I too understand their perspective of me as being a 'little crazy' for running so much, because I once had the same attitude. In the past I once laughed and wondered at what could be so beneficial about running. I too would think, "Why in the world would anyone want to punish themselves like that?" But now, when this dialog occurs between my friends and others, I feel a certain prick that wants to tell them about the great things that transpire when I do run, but I also know, how difficult it is to relate this message to them unless they actually decide to run for themselves! So...I run on...hoping the example will be inspirational enough to compel them to lace up a pair of sneakers one day and set off on their own road of run-elation!

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