The “What” of Running
My apologies for a lag in posting. I have been busy lately with an intensive class and life in general.
Writing about running can be kind of tricky. There are some tried and true ways to write about things peripheral to running, though. You can see this in the huge variety of recipes, exercises, stretches, training programs, race reviews, product reviews, and athlete interviews. It’s easy to write product reviews or form and technique – the “how” of running. It’s even fairly easy to write about the “why” of running, as there are numerous studies that show that exercise in general, and even specifically running, can positively affect your quality and length of life. When it it comes down to it, it’s much easier to write with hard (or at least relatively hard) facts – the “when”, “where”, “how”, and “why” of running. It’s much harder to describe the “what” of running, like nailing Jello to the wall.
By “what”, I mean writing about what draws us to running (or walking or reading or whatever your passion of choice is). One reason it is hard is because the “what” is as varied as we are and it constantly changes. For instance, I started running because I didn’t have the money to invest in a really nice bike, then I kept running because I was losing weight and enjoyed the physical benefits of running, then I kept running because I had a goal in my mind to run a marathon, and so on and so on. The “what” constantly changes. What keeps me running now is much different from the reason I started. What started as striving for an outward change has become an agent of inward change. What began as a financially minimal (at least until I discovered the joy of running shoes and races) way to conquer my body became a way to cooperate with my body and begin to conquer my demons.
I can’t say, for sure, that I even know what keeps running right now. I mean, I could point to the fact that I have a few races in the fall. I could point to the fact that, after losing 60 pounds, I don’t want to put it back on. I could explain that the endorphins my body releases when I run make me feel good. But these would all be “why” statements.
Maybe I’ll never fully understand the “what” of running. “What keeps me running?” may always be a question left unanswered, but not for my lack of exploring it. I would invite you to consider the “what” of your passions this weekend and, even if you cannot explain it, I think it’s always a question that will be ready for pondering.