Anyone who runs long distances can tell you that we get an awful lot of concerned questions and probably a lot of sarcastic sympathy for our crazy, fucked up obsession. And still, we run.
What do I have to prove? It’s not about proving anything. It’s about being my best me – only for me. It’s about trying my hardest. It’s about not being careful. It’s about facing a challenge square in the face and doing it. I don’t have to be measured by anyone’s standards but my own, and even those can change with my mood. I don’t have to win the race, I just have to win my race. (But placing in my age group totally rocks.)
What if I get hurt? So far, so good. I think I’m more likely to end up in a hospital from sitting on my ass too much than from running too far. And if I did, by chance, end this life because of a run, you could not blame the run for my death, but credit it for my living.
Don’t I get bored? I have never – ever – been bored on a run. Running makes me feel. Running breathes life into my soul and reminds me I’m not dead yet. I’ve felt like I was dying; I’ve felt like I was flying. But never bored. Nope.
I must be addicted to exercise – that’s not good. Okay, maybe I am. Aren’t there worse addictions to have? I am addicted, not to the running itself, but to the joy of the run. I am addicted to the connection I feel to the earth and to the energy that it returns to me. I am addicted to the opening of my heart and to the letting go of everything I hold too tightly. I am addicted to the inevitable pain that yanks my wandering mind immediately back to the present moment and connects my head to my body. In those moments – those brief clips of time – I experience the mysterious holy trinity connecting my parts with the language of Love that cannot be explained but must be lived to know and understand it.
Like Mr. Gump, I suppose I’ll know when I’m done running, and not before. Until then, I’ll just keep going.
I’m neither running away from my past nor running towards an unknown future. I’m running to quiet the din inside of me so I can listen to the world around me. And I’m running to silence the world so I can find my own voice.
I’m running… to be still.