Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Run?

Why Run by Adam Monaghan 9/24/08

1. It is fun! No matter what the occasion or conditions or context, running is fun. Even when it's not fun (i.e. temporary pain, discomfort, being lost on a trail, tripping in mud, having your shoes come off stuck in the mud, coming in last place or whatever) it's still fun because in the big picture, running is fun!

2. You feel good! So far in 5 years of running I can guarantee myself that I will always feel better after a run that before: mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. Even on the rare days when you are sore or it is uncomfortable, you still always feel better after than before in every way. And running isn’t easy, for the record. There are always days when you have to talk yourself out the door and one step at a time. The feeling and satisfaction of finishing a run is a great feeling. And, wow, that feeling when you cross the finish line of any organized run, especially a marathon, is the best!

3. It's an adventure! You see the world, make observations on outdoor life, other athletes and retreaters. You get to observe culture, road construction, vehicles, river life, and when and where the sun sets. You become an expert weatherman and forecaster from spending time outdoors. Even the everyone in a while indoor treadmill run is an adventure because you’re watching CNN and trying to read the text at the bottom of the screen but still keep running without falling off the machine. Running with tens of thousands of people at a marathon in Chicago or New York or running with 39 people at a 50-mile trail is both a great, unique adventure. I’ve encountered skunks, snakes, squirrels, rabbits, plenty of adventurous cars (they honk and wave and tell me I’m number one and that they don’t like my running shorts – go figure) and bicyclists who are going way faster than me and expect to have the right of way on the trail. What an adventure!

4. What a relief! If there’s a better way to unwind, decompress, de-stress or ‘chill out’, I’m not aware of it. After a hard day’s work or a stressful meeting, running helps me to focus and relax.

5. It’s a real life image of the spiritual life! Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, maybe even an ultra. Holiness, and transformation into the image of Christ, likewise is a long, slow run! Running for me parallels my spiritual journey. Sometimes I feel like I am running the narrow road. Sometimes I feel that on that road I am joined by tens of thousands and other times while I know I am covering ground on the way to the finish line, it feels I am lost on the trail. Running gives the best analogies and metaphors for sharing my spiritual journey and challenging others to a spiritual journey towards Christ.

6. It’s a great way to connect! While it’s true that I’ve done about 98% of all my running and training all by myself, I do like to run with others. I like to run with friends, students, up and coming runners, whoever! Times flies and competition soars when you run with others. I’ve experienced some of the richest fellowship ever while running marathons and ultra. In marathons you can learn the basics about someone’s life and semi-connect. In an ultra you can hear their whole life story and then some! And I really do love connections!

7. It helps me feel healthy! Of course, I run to feel healthy and be healthy. I’ve tried to biking a little here and there too, but nothing makes me feel as healthy as a good run. (Studies and science tend to agree as far as I’ve read too, the most calories burned per mile as a sustainable/reasonable time/pace.) Also, I have this ridiculous fear (I know it’s unfounded and unreasonable and it’s certainly not going to happen to me!) that one day I will grow old. I don’t want to wake up one day (a long, long time from now!), realize I am old and wish I’d have lived. Running is one way for me to “live” right now!