Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 3 of 365: Why I Run

The hardest thing when it comes to blogs like these is forcing myself not to think up topics to write about for the next day. That ruins the whole idea behind writing every single day. If I'm thinking up the topics, why not also pre-write them, and schedule them for each day? You lose out on that writing revelation, that moment when you don't feel encumbered with writing the perfect thing and instead just write.

Today was my first run since I angered my ACL. I wrapped my trusty kneebrace around my right knee (a kneebrace that has seen every run I've done for the last 6 months, because I'm always doing something to injure my knees), and went. I got about 4.8 miles in today, which is not exactly impressive in my book anymore (especially since I'm trying to train up to at least 10 miles in preparation for my half marathon in October and potentially the Chicago Marathon next year), but it was nice to get back into the swing of things.

So it's no wonder that I got back and my first thought was, "I should write about running today." Which begs the question: what about running? People get into running for all sorts of reasons. Some get into it for all the wrong reasons: "I want to lose 5 pounds." "I want to be skinny." Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.

So, why do I run? (Aside from the fact that my mom used to call me her little track star when I would bolt from the schoolyard to her car.) While there usual benefits are there (health, physical fitness), there are other reasons. Which I will list below:


1. I run because I want to be physically fit. I like being able to sprint across a parking lot and not be out of breath. I like getting from floor 1 to floor 5 of an office building and not be clinging to the handrail by floor 3. I value efficiency. My body is no exception.

2. I run because the human body is capable of amazing things. Ever heard of ultra-marathons? These races make the Boston Marathon look like a quick jog around the park. Some of these races can last for days -- days -- spanning sometimes hundreds of miles. And people run them. There's a man who ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. People climb Mt. Everest and swim the English channel and push Mack trucks uphill. The human body is capable of some incredible feats, and I feel like I'm wasting the gift I've been given if I spend my time sitting around and being idle.

3. I run because of the zombie apocalypse. This one is obviously facetious, but with a serious point underneath. Pretending to run from zombie attacks can be fun. In fact, I have an app on my phone where I go on missions and outrun zombies during my everyday run. But, in all seriousness, I run because, in the event of an emergency, I want to be able to do what I need to do to survive, and to help others survive. If I need to run across a battlefield or away from a collapsing building, I want to know I can be able to do it.

4. I run because endorphins are the best free drug. They've actually come out with a study that says that runner's high is akin to illicit drug use in terms of effects on your brain. Don't believe me? Talk to a runner after a marathon. They are as high as a kite. Endorphins + adrenaline = free high.

5. I run because I can't meditate, but need to. This one is probably the biggest reason why I run. The biggest problem with a creative brain is that it never shuts off (and I'm going to be so bold as to call myself a creative type). For crying out loud, my brain continues to run a mile a minute even when I sleep (just ask my husband. I chat, walk, sing, explore, even pontificate in my sleep).

I've tried meditation before, and it's just not for me. I can achieve a solid 10 seconds of not thinking about anything when I'm in the middle of a serious yoga class, but that's the extent of it. Give my brain a chance to think and it will. Oh, it will.

"Hey, did you get groceries yet?"
"Hey, remember that time, you said that thing, and it was embarrassing?"
"Hey, after meditation, you should go to the gas station."
"Hey, remember that time, you did that thing, and it was embarrassing?"
"Hey, what's that song you know, the song that goes like this: da da, da-da-da, da da, da-da-da..."
"Hey, do you think you have any text messages? You know how you get about responding text messages.
"Hey, remember that time, when that person did that thing, and it really upset you?"
"Hey, what's the next chapter going to be about? Maybe you should do a flashback. Or a driving scene. Does the main character fight with another character in these scene? Maybe they should. Or hint at that they want to. But they don't. What do you think???"

This doesn't necessarily go away at first when I run. In fact, that chatterbox is front and center, paired with a whining voice that doesn't get why we're running and wants to turn around (as well as a demotivational voice who says things like, "Hey, you just ran 2 miles. Good enough! Let's go home and eat some chicken nuggets.") And they stay there, for Mile 1, Mile 2...but somewhere about Mile 3 or 4, their voices get a little softer. Mile 5, and I can barely hear them. By Mile 6, it's all about me, my music, and my run. And that's why I lace up my running shoes, even when I don't feel like it. That's why I'm striving to run 10 miles in a typical day. That's why I hope to someday run the Chicago, the New York, and hopefully the Boston Marathon someday. Because I find zen when I run. And because everything else pales in comparison in terms of finding it.

So Day 3 is turning out to be the biggest of the blog posts. I can't guarantee it will always be like this, but who knows. Maybe I'll have a writing epiphany and spew out incredible articles and essays with zero effort. Or maybe we'll see a lot of "I have nothing to write about. Shit, shit, shit." posts. We'll see.

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