Ahhh, the age old question (I suppose)...why do us runners do what we do? The numerous alien cultures that are no doubt studying us from afar must be baffled by the myriad of habits the population of earth routinely participate in (lawn waterers I'm looking at you....but that's for another post). One such group would be runners. What exactly are we trying to accomplish....what exactly are we running from or towards....what the what?
There is no easy answer, unless of course you are one of the increasing members of this planet that have been bitten by the running bug - then all that is required is a knowing nod as we apply vaseline on our nipples so they don't bleed during our long run.
The answers to this question are plentiful. For as many running shoe styles that exist, there are just as many reasons why we put one Saucony clad foot in front of the other on a daily basis. For health, for joy, to forget, to remember, for habit, to be a better mom/dad/brother/aunt/etc.....the list is endless. If you think of it, it has to be.
Runners, as with any "cultish" behaviour, can be seen as odd. Pre-dawn runs, treadmill sessions, running through obvious injuries, exquisitely designed training plans, running past the point of our bodies telling us to stop, watches that tell us how far/fast/strong we've performed that day, hiring people to make us faster, discussing the minutiae of heel drops, sock thickness, lacing techniques, the virtues of gel/foam/air cushioning, the evils of gel/foam/air cushioning,
Then there is the community that pops up across the world every weekend as events from turkey trots, 5k's, milers, and half/full/ultra marathons are commonplace in every city. Participating in those events is truly something special, and brings runners together in what can be almost described as a religious experience for some. Watch the finish line at any race and tell me that this stuff isn't important to people. In a world where we are trying to make sense of a myriad of ugly behaviours and events, the joy of watching someone cross the finish line in their first 42km effort is something to behold.
That might be the root of it. We've made life serious business. After a certain age, society tells us that play time is over and we have to get on with saving money for a house, dentist bills, university, death. Deep within all of us there HAS to exist a child just wanting to re-emerge, to experience joy, to play.....to run barefoot in a dewy grass field. Running is a gift we give ourself, to that inner child. It is a reward in a world of negative reinforcement.
Sprinkled throughout these blog posts, I will endeavour to explain "us". Perhaps we don't want to be understood, as there is no great way to answer the question of "WHY?" We just do, and when we don't, we cease to be. Come into Play any day of the week....you'll find your community there waiting with open arms.
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