This weekend I read "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes. For those of you who aren't familiar with Dean, he's a Super Endurance athlete. That's a fancy way of saying he runs incredible distances (100+ miles), just because. The book chronicles his life and how he found and embraced his passion for running. I thought it was a fascinating book and something in Dean's words struck a chord with me. He writes of being "just an average guy" whose passion, for many different reasons, is running.
When I was in Jr. High, my mom started running. I'm not sure, even to this day, what her motivations were for taking it up; I just know that I got drafted in the running thing as well. I was decent at it. I ran several road races (5k and 10k), a half-marathon, the Bix 7, a few 24-hour runs, and even messed around with a year of Cross Country in high school. Too be perfectly honest, I may have wanted to run with her at one point, but I distinctly remember feeling as though it was expected that I would continue running just because Mom was. The proof of this lies in the fact that I quit running around the time that I moved out of the house.
Whether real or imagined, the pressure to run because my Mom enjoyed it, had soured me on running. I found that I would rather put my efforts into golf, basketball, neighborhood football, and the like. I enjoyed these activities but never was able to excel in them. Running was something that I would come back to off and on for several years, but usually as a means to an end. I needed to drop some weight, I needed to get faster for whatever rec league I played in, or a girl that I was dating or liked was giving running a try.
Reading Dean's book, was kind of eye-opening for me. I've started running a little bit the past month, but again, as a way to supplement gym work for weight loss. Tonight, pumped up from reading "Ultramarathon Man", I went for a run and it clicked. I wasn't just putting in the work, I was running with my heart. I realized that at heart I may be a runner. Basketball, golf, etc, are all fun, but none of them offer the chance for introspection that happened for me tonight. I went 2.2 miles and ran all but about a tenth of a mile. I felt great. There's something soothing about knowing that just putting one foot in front of the other can get you through.
I think that the runner buried somewhere within me is clamoring to get out. I never thought I would say this, but I'm glad that part of me hadn't left for good.
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