Friday, October 19, 2007

I am a Runner because...

Coming into Lone Oak, mile 26, at Dick Collins (courtesy of the Dick Collins website)

[I love this prompt because it can be interpreted two ways. Both, the reasons on why you want to be a runner, and also, how running has come to define you. I have both interpretations in my answers]

Running seems to somewho justify who I am and why I feel the way I do about life. I often talk about how I was never an athlete as a child, even though technically, that wasn't true. I played soccer for almost 10 years. Yet, despite really enjoying the sport, I never really felt like I belonged. I enjoyed it, but it never defined who I was. With little regret, I was able to give it up when I started high school, and didn't really look back. When I did play soccer, I chose to be the goalie, which allowed me to be simultaneously part of a team but also alone. That feeling of being loosly connected to a group yet, overall, separate, was one that had always been with me, until I took up running.

Suddenly, even though I wasn't fast, wasn't remarkable in any way, I felt like I was on some common ground with other runners. Our distance, rather than our ability, seemed to define us. Longer distances seemed to provides stronger ties of community. I could be an athlete, just by making a choice to take on that identity. And the more I chose to mold my life around running, the more of a runner I became. It took a long time for that identity to hold. Even after my first marathon, I didn't quite feel comfortable with it. Finally, I stopped trying to be part of those groups where I still felt alone. Running gave me an excuse to turn down parties, clubs, bars, the typical social gatherings of college students, and instead interact and learn from people who inspired me, while experiencing amazing places. I am a runner because I constantly seek out inspiration from people around me to achieve new and exciting things.

So, now having earned and accepted this identity, here's my list of why I am a runner:

I constantly talk about it, to family, friends, acquaintances. I don't know you? I'll probably still talk your ear off about some trail or run I went on. Today one of my first graders saw that I had a water bottle and said, "I know why you have that. You're going for a run!"

It allows me infinite reasons to hold onto my optimistic mentality

Somehow I breathe better when I run. The deep breathes that I just can't seem to take in otherwise are suddenly readily available

it keeps me constant, sane, peaceful, and centered

I feel the most alive after a long trail run

It makes me feel strong [really, it simply makes me strong, which is something I'm not sure I knew I could be before]

I hate, absolutely hate, waking up early, except if it's to go out on a trail. Then, I'm ridiculously happy at 4 in the morning, full of boundless energy

It gives me a confidence I never knew I had

To give it up would mean to give up what I know can make me truly and simply happy

I was tagged by Rick,
and I shall tag....
Jessica, Red, and Twig :)


Phil said...

I need to go out for a run after reading this post.

I'm sure there are other communities that have the same strong sense of support that we all enjoy, I just can't name one.

I really appreciate your well writen blog (it's one of the first I check everyday). I'm constantly amazed at the pure joy you bring to our sport and this comes through loud and clear through your writing and pictures. If you can transfer some of this passion to your students you will do more for them later in life than you can imagine. Thank you for sharing.

Addy said...

phil, that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about my writing :) Thanks so much for that. With these things you often wonder if anyone ever reads them, and if they come across as more than just personal drivel. Thank you for reading!

Grellan said...

Very well written post. I'm with Phil on this one. Makes me want to lace up and get out there straight away.
I think your reasons for running are universal, for runners that is - the rest think we're crazy.

Sensationally Red said...

That was beautiful Addy. Thanks for tagging me. I'm going to have to think on this, so give me a few days. I'm so glad for you that you found connection through running.

robtherunner said...

Well spoken...I agree and feel the same way. It's amazing how running can transform a person. Especially out on the trails.

runningtwig said...

Great post...and thanks for the tag. I've been struggling after the 50K, so this was perfect for me to think about right now. Thanks and keep it up!

Sensationally Red said...

Addy...check out my tag post. Thanks. That was fun.

Journey to a Centum said...

I've decided that whenevr anyone asks me why I run Ultras and Marathons I'm just going to say "Cause chicks dig it".

It's a hard thing to explain. You painted a good picture. It's all that an more.

Jean said...

Very nicely said, Addy! And I could not agree with you more on the confidence part.

Good stuff! :)

rick said...

Love the post Addy. Your passion and enjoyment for running shows. You always look like you are having a great time out there even through the rough spots.

Dave said...

very eloquently written...nice!

Bob Gentile said...

Good Stuff Addy...keep that passion going !!!

Sarah said...

This is one of the best posts ever! Run on! : )

Amy said...

I love hearing why people run and your post does a fabulous job telling us why you run.

I can feel the energy and spirit that running gives you.

Great post!