Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why I Run, Possibly

I spend a great deal of time trying to understand why it is I obsess about running. Why does it take up so much of my thoughts after the running is done?

For my family, I would like to live longer, but I know that I do not run for health. I could give a shit about that unless it is working toward the end goal of being able to run faster or go further.

I don't run to lose weight. That became an easy, natural by-product of the miles. The extra pounds had to come off. Now I do everything I can to keep enough calories coming in to push the growling stomach away.

Beauty in a snowstorm
Two other possible reasons come to mind. Suffering and the commune with the natural world.

Second one first. I like nothing more than listening to my own breath and footsteps in an otherwise quiet environment. I can't find that indoors, and I love the woods, the dark streets. I am at peace there.

This is why I don't do headphones, why I do not run with friends. Not because I don't like music or conversation when I move, but because everything is so loud all the time. Home, commute, work. It is nice to hear very little, to give myself the opportunity to think to the point of void. When it all just wipes away.

Then there is the suffering. Anyone who has known me over the last twenty years knows that I have always been a fan of self-inflicted melancholia. When I was younger I sought out creative and (occasionally) destructive ways to suffer through life. I eventually smartened up, but never lost the need to feel torment. Running into pain filled the gap. As long as there is a further distance or harder route to attempt, I know that I will never be without my beloved misery.

I am going to spend some time over the next few months probing these thoughts further.