Remembering the reasons

Remembering the reasons

Earlier in the week, I posted a quote that remarked how running can benefit a runner for a long time, throughout her life, if the runner treats the relationship well.  Part of that, I think, comes from knowing your limits (and listening to your body, as I’ve harped so much about recently) and perhaps more importantly, remembering the reasons why you run in the first place.

I thought I’d share the reasons why I run, in the hopes that it will resonate with my readers (whoever you are, out there!) and also because my little essay (below) won Chicago Athlete’s “Why Chicago Runs” essay contest, earning me a year’s worth of race entries (yea!!).  Following my essay, I’ll elaborate on some of the finer details and what they mean.  Enjoy 🙂  (I’m somewhat embarrassed about this, so it’s probably good that you can’t see my blushing face!)

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“Running is my unicorn pursuit. Doing it makes me feel I can accomplish the impossible.  It satisfies my yearning for adventure, my insatiable sense of inquiry, and my desire to experience the world in ways inimitable. No other community matches running’s sense of camaraderie or readily embraces the socially unacceptable. Running gives me epiphanic moments of clarity otherwise unreachable, and it makes me a fantastic wife, daughter, sister, and friend.

Running will alleviate the world’s ills, and, in the process, make all of us better, stronger, fitter, faster people.

Here’s to you, running. There’s nothing quite like you.”

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  1. “unicorn pursuit” – this pays homage to the Boston Marathon, a goal for which many, many runners aim year in and year out.  The BAA features a mythical unicorn on its medal for the Boston Marathon, as running a marathon, especially Boston, is like a quest for excellency (thus, a unicorn pursuit).  Some people even congratulate Boston finishers on “capturing the unicorn.”
  2. accomplishing the impossible, inquiry, experience, etc. – Runners will understand this.  Conveying it to non-runners is a bit more challenging.  Some of the best ways I’ve come to appreciate Chicago, or anywhere, is by running through it.  Doing so not only makes me feel more connected to the environment, but I also simply notice and experience the environment in ways that, say, riding a bus or driving a car through the locales just doesn’t.
  3. camaraderie and the “socially unacceptable” – The running community connects people in ways that few other things in life can.  Amby Burfoot over at Runner’s World just riffed on this idea lately, claiming that runners “are the world” and noting that more countries are members of an international track and field association than of a soccer organization.  We connect with our running buddies on training runs in ways, and to depths, that few friendships attain.  Personally, some of my most treasured relationships are those I’ve forged with my running buddies, out along the roads, and for the most part, we have precious little in common except our passion for the sport.  On a lighter note, the “socially unacceptable” includes all those fun things that runners do from time-to-time (or every day!), like blowing bodily fluids while on the run, heeding nature’s call whenever or wherever, and other myriad things of that type 🙂
  4. epiphanic moments of clarity – The Runners’ High.  ‘Nuff said. 🙂
  5. alleviate the world’s ills (and the remaining parts to my essay)- this is my reason for running.  Besides the personal, bodily effects running has on me, many groups have embraced the sport as a way to fundraise for certain causes — be it hunger or disease eradication, awareness-raising, advocacy promotion, or something in between.  No longer do people need to feel like they can’t help “save the world”; running, and in the process, bringing visibility to said issue, can have a dramatic effect on an organization’s fundraising or awareness efforts.  Take a look at any race, and it’s hard to miss the charity runners out there.  And I’m one of them, loudly and proudly.  We run for reasons beyond ourselves, for reasons bigger than ourselves.  We run because we can — and because we care.  [for additional information, check out my ode to Team in Training].

Last night’s 7 Yasso 800s went very well, despite some serious north-bound wind.  Though I don’t have my splits nearby, I know we had the 3:30s about 3 times, low 3:40s twice (the windy portions of the run), and the 3:20s (including a low one!) twice.  My legs are definitely still a bit sleepy today… and it has been almost 24 hours since.

Saturday will greet my group with our first of three Barrington 20-milers.  It is on these days, usually the most mentally exhausting, that I really try to remember the reasons why I run.  I encourage you to do the same on your own run this weekend.

Happy trails.

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