People like to pose the question: Why do you run?
I never know how to answer. Sure, I started running as a way to get healthy and lose weight – two things I’ve been successful at. But why did I keep running? If I met my goal, why didn’t I stop?
I usually avoid that “Why do you run?” question because anything I answer would feel like a lie. In fact, the only things that ever come to mind are: to help keep me sane and to de-stress. But how could that be when I often feel like I am losing it trying to fit my training runs into already overloaded days?
Tuesday night, while bending to pick up an upside down magazine from beside my bed, I realized why I run. I recognize that’s not a very sexy way to have an “aha” moment, but that’s when it happened – after putting my son in the bath and before folding laundry.
Earlier in the day, I read an email from my mom. She’s not well. She lives two states away. I feel helpless.
I went about the routine chores of the evening while my brain subconsciously dissected the information from her note. It surfaced precisely as I was picking up the magazine and suddenly I needed to go for a run. Right. Now.
And that’s when I knew.
A family friend teased me once after I questioned aloud when I would run that day. He pretended to push a needle into his forearm. The mime stung, and I held back tears. But now I know he was right on.
I run to get away from real-life. I run to a place where all I have to do is focus on some numbers and the rhythm of rubber soles on asphalt. I forget about dishes and laundry and aging parents. Running lets me escape reality.
And anything that does that is a powerful drug.
Why do you run? Do you really know?
Note: The night after I wrote this my father-in-law also had a health scare and is currently in the hospital. We don’t know what is going on as he is in Alaska. Prayers for my mom and my father-in-law, please. Also, who wants to sign up for a full marathon with me?