Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why Run?

All runners evidently get asked this question, "So, why do you run?"  It may even be followed by my favorite line, "What are you running from?"  Which of course always garners the response "I don't know, if I knew I probably would've stopped."  We get bombarded by the question almost daily from people of all shapes and sizes.  So it is a question all runners have to be comfortable answering.  If you are like myself, many runners also find themselves at times asking, "Self, why are you doing this?  You know you don't have to do it.  So why don't you just stop?  There are other activities that aren't nearly as hard."  All runners have to remind themselves from time to time why we do it.  Running is so simple and so ingrained in our genetics, yet the answer to why we do it can become very complicated.

I have so many reasons why I keep running at 29 years old, but the strange things is I don't remember why I started running?  I started running when I was 10 years old because my neighbor coached the local club team and his son was a good friend of mine.  Other than that it's hard for me to remember what the hell that kid was thinking.  I don't know what made me want to do it.  But I wanted to, and I wanted to bad.  So bad that I bugged my father incessantly to let me run a local club cross-country race.  When he finally got sick of my nagging, he took me over a 1 mile loop and told me I could race that weekend if I could run the 1 mile loop twice without stopping.  He of course thought I would fail,  I of course wanted to do it bad enough that I didn't stop.  And while I have temporarily walked away from the sport twice in my adult life, that same fire comes back.  I may never be able to remember what 10 year old Brandon was thinking.  Hell, I don't even remember what 12 year Brandon was thinking picking cross-country over football, considering I grew up idolizing Joe Montana and Steve Young.  But the list of reasons why I run gets longer every year.  Channeling these reasons into positive energy, is something that keeps me going and silences the inner bitch when things are tough.

So to answer the question, why do I run?  And more importantly why am I still running at 29 years old after battling an auto-immune system disease, panic attacks, depression, and anxiety?  I run because I still have something to prove to myself.  I run because I still have something to prove to everyone else.  I run because I don't want to let my vasculitis disease beat me.  I don't want depression to beat me.  I don't want anxiety to beat me.  I run to express myself.  I run to belong.  I run to stand out.  I run to show off.  I run to compete.  I run because I am good at it.  I run because I'm not the best at it.  I run to hide.  I run to feel free.  I run because I am an addict.  I run to relieve stress.  I run because if I don't it causes stress.  I run to see how far I can push my body.  I run to see how far I can push my mind.  I run because I enjoy the pain.  I run because I enjoy hard work.  I run to better myself.  I run to socialize.  I run to be antisocial.  I run because it brings excitement to my life.  I run because I don't know how to stop.

Most importantly now, I run because like it or not it's who I am!