Keep Running. That’s a phrase that’s been going through my mind a lot lately. It’s kind of become my motto. There was a brief period of time, after I was fully into this whole running thing, that I asked myself, “What if one day I decide I don’t really like this? What if I decide I don’t want to run anymore?” Yes, there are some days that I just keep looking at my watch and asking the age old, proverbial question, “Are we there yet?” Is it a big deal if I don’t want to run anymore, it’s not like it’s the end of the world. The thing I’ve realized is it’s about so much more than the run.
Let me ask you a question, Why do you run? What is it that makes you get up at 5 am and hit the streets? What drives you to run a ridiculous amount of miles in 95 degree weather? Or as the comic in the paper touched on the other day, what makes you want to pay perfectly good money, to run on a boring old street, to do something you enjoy, with a goal to be done doing it as quick as possible??
Let me tell you why I run.
- I run for my health. 30 pounds lost and in better shape than I have been in my entire life.
- I run for my family. My children love seeing me run, love asking about my next race, and through running I know that I can stay healthy and will be around a lot longer to see them grow.
- I run to see myself improve. I played little league quite a few years ago. I was center fielder. Not once did the ball ever get hit to me, and when up to bat I never hit the ball once. I didn’t play football because I was scared to be tackled and get hurt. (yep, hope I didn’t just ruin my manly image.) I loved volleyball but could never manage to hit the ball with both hands and it always seemed to go behind me when I did hit it. When running I don’t get tackled and I am improving, it’s great!
- I run to race… Yep, I love a little competition even if most of them are faster than me.
- I run to inspire. When I run I hope that someone realizes that, Hey if Tod can do it, anyone can.
So I have a lot of reasons to run, but not all of them are about the running. It’s about what’s at the finish line. Have I improved? Am I healthier from what I am doing? Have I inspired someone?
Today I ran a 10k, My goal was 8 minutes per mile. I have a strategy where I peg someone ahead of me and make it my goal to pass them by the end of the race. Today I pegged the “gray haired older lady in the pink shirt” who was just ahead of me. She had a good pace (for an older lady 😉 ) and I figured I’d pass her up and start working on the next person to pass. Yep, about mile 4 she kicked it in gear and I could hardly see her by the time I finished mile six and she was gone. But the fast guy I passed at the start of mile 6, I was feeling pretty good about passing him, until he blitzed past me during the last two tenths of a mile and there was nothing I could do to keep up. Oh and the green shirt lady, yeah not a chance. But when I got to the finish line there was my wife cheering me on and there was my PR of 48.07, and a pace of 7 minutes 52 seconds per mile, And I knew that I had won that race.
So I was doing some “light reading” the other day, and for someone my age and gender to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon, I would have to run a marathon in 3 hours and 5 minutes or less. That’s only 45 seconds off my current fastest pace with over 4 times the distance. But you know what? By the time I reach 40 years old, I’m going to do it. How? I don’t know, but I will keep running.
This post isn’t really about running though, it’s about life. I met an amazing man while on my mission in Canada. His name was Brother Garry Stark. I used to think of him as kind of awkward and different, but the more I got to know him the more I realized I had a lot to learn from him. I’ll never forget one of the last times I saw him. He let me know that his wife was in the hospital, very ill, and was not expected to live much longer. His response was something along the lines of “But I know I’ll see her again, and I’ll do what the Lord wants me to do and go where he wants me to go.” He didn’t say this while choking back tears, or with a hopeful sound in his voice. He made this statement with utter conviction in the most matter-of-fact voice. I knew he meant, believed, and knew every bit of that. So that’s life, we keep on running, there’s a lot to learn on the way. Some days our pace may be off, we may never catch up, we may get passed by that old lady, and who knows, we might stop to catch our breath and realize we haven’t gotten as far as we thought, but there’s plenty more road or trail out there and when we reach our finish line I can guarantee that we’ll have someone cheering us on and it won’t matter who finished first, as long as we kept running!
PS. I’m always asking for comments and when I get them I often forget to respond, but I appreciate them all and will do better at responding like I should. 🙂