Why I Really Keep Running

There are plenty of things that are amazing about running:

  • Nutella sandwiches with bananas in them.
  • Dogs running towards me on the trail, wagging their tails and requiring me to pet them.
  • Shower beer

The actual act of running…? Well, that’s a very complicated relationship, let me tell you.

While running, I have experienced:

  • So many different kinds of pains I can’t even name them all.
  • Shortness of breath so intense it felt like I was going to pass out.
  • Getting caught up in a hailstorm so vigorous I came back home with bruises…

But I still can’t stop. Because while running, I also experienced:

  • The scent of redwood trees after a rain.
  • The soft surface of a trail covered with pine needles.
  • The moment of silence just before the world bursts into life when the dawn comes.

Absolute freedom,
Absolute exhaustion,
Absolute happiness.

Over two years ago, I wrote a slightly sarcastic post named “Why (The Hell) do I Run?” To be honest, I ask myself this question very often. (Well, not right now, because I am, once again, an IPOS; an injured piece of… absolute garbage.) And to keep this post real (because that’s what we like to do around here), most of the time, running sucks.

But during the rare times it doesn’t, it brings me so much of everything that it would be hard to quit for good. The moment when all the miles and hours I’ve put into it come together and it all just clicks, those are the moments I live for.

When this happens, the world is made of light.
My body feels strong and non-existent at the same time.
The air that goes in and out of my lungs is sweeter than anything I’ve ever tasted.
The rhythmical pounding of my feet on the pavement or the trail or the track becomes the only thing that matters.
The wind going past my ears is the most beautiful melody.
Everything — and I really do mean everything — is perfect.

It’s like being transported to a whole another dimension.

I’m going to be honest. Those moments are only a few and far apart, rarer than finding a pearl in an oyster. Sometimes, it might feel like diving into the ocean of pain isn’t even worth it, given the chances. But the truth is, if we don’t keep diving for oysters, the chance of finding those pearls is zero.

So here’s to the one reason I keep going; to give myself even the smallest chance of finding some of those pearls.

Running up Mout Tamalpais under the Big Dipper
Photo by Katherine “KK” Fisher

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