I received this comment from Wonderwall on one of my most popular posts: Date a Girl Who Runs…
I always feel like runners are running away from something- don’t like this article at all. Blah.
No worries if Wonderwall didn’t like the post; each one is entitled to his/her opinion. But, I think his/her first line is worth discussing. It’s a question I’ve asked myself in the past (hey, you never know what goes on in our subconscious, right?) and raised with friends a couple of times. Have you asked yourself the same?
“Do I run because I’m running away from something?”
My answer: Every time I hit the road, I’m almost beaming with joy. There’s no doubt that I run simply because I want to. Most of the time, I am running TOWARDS something and not away from anything at all. I run towards a goal: a race I’ve targeted months in advance with a training program that I follow to a tee, a new PR, or a specific distance to achieve that day. Sometimes I run for what others may think are more mundane reasons but are important to me just the same: to be with friends or even to enjoy the breakfast and great conversation after. And, yes, there are times when I also run to burn off the Cheetos I munched on the previous night and, if possible, to flush out the guilty feeling that comes with it.
Admittedly, sometimes I do run to get away. To escape. To unburden myself of the loads of life. It’s no different from an artist painting on a blank canvass to express his despair or a musician banging on his drums to ease the pain. It’s simply a way to cope.
When my dad had his surgery, I ran like there was no tomorrow and, when he passed away, I ran even harder. I run when there’s too much work, when there’s conflict with a relationship, or when I’m just fed up with something or someone. I run hoping to leave behind all these issues and problems and hope to the high heavens they can never catch up with me. Is this wrong? Not at all. For some reason, I end the run feeling empowered, energized, and ready to take on the world. Eat my dust, I usually say to all of life’s challenges.
I guess the only way to really know if you’re running TOWARDS or AWAY from something is to look at where you’re standing now. Ask yourself: Has running taken me farther than I could have ever imagined? Or has it driven me to isolation and cowardice? Has running made me stronger, fitter, and better? Or has it made me more arrogant, obnoxious and self-centered? Has running transformed me into a better person? Or has it taken me further away from who I really should be?
So, what’s your answer?