The August 2007 edition of Runner’s World lists 101 reasons to run, a collection of motivations to keep you going when you’d really rather sit at home and watch tv. Or blog, as the case may be. My favorites are number 1, “start a blog” (for accountability reasons as well as a place to log the thoughts and internal discoveries you wish to share with the rest of the blogosphere); number 58, “run for a reason” (there’s a huge feeling of satisfaction when you know you are pushing yourself to the limits for a worthy cause); and number 69, “If you don’t run road races, where will you get all your T-shirts?” (so true! I still wear my Bridge to Bridge t-shirt from 1999. It’s a bit holey but I’m not out for glamor).
However, interestingly, my personal top motivation was not listed, even though I know it is a powerful motivator for many runners. Simply put, I run because I know it makes me feel good. Not on a superficial, get-rich-quick kind of level. I am not sure I experience the “runner’s high” and I’ve had plenty of runs that made my toes, heels and knees ache and cry foul for days afterwards. I’ve spent many a-day on the paths with only five words rattling around in my brain: “why am I doing this?”. But over the past 6 months I’ve tried to stay more focused on what I am feeling. I’ve learned, in the grand scheme of things, that if I remain active over the long haul I feel happier and more content in all aspects of my life. (And I enjoy my runs more!)
I’ve struggled over the past few years to find contentment in my life. It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve had issues. Some real, some imagined, some fairly public, others extremely private. But, all similar in that they stomp uninvited into my mind, set up camp and cloud my ability to keep a balanced and reasonable perspective. But 2007 has been good, better. Not perfect, but definitely healthy. I think in many ways it’s been about learning to respect myself. Learning to push myself, but also to listen to what my body is telling me. And to cut me some slack sometimes. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m feeling positive. It’s a refreshing feeling!