After my speed workout, consisting of 4x800 meter repeats on the track yesterday, I went about my daily chores. At a stop at a local gas station, a well-meaning gentleman, after observing my wobbly gait, asked, "Why are you still running?"
I know, I know, I could have retorted with a wise guy remark, like "Why are you overweight," "Why do you smoke," or another snarky rejoinder. Instead, I politely said, "I still love it."
I'm not really sure I convinced him, as he responded, "You're crazy."
That well may be, but as I drove home, I thought about his question, and I concluded that I run for many of the same reasons you do.
--I like the way it makes me feel.
--It feels pretty darn good when you look at others your age and realize they really look old.
--Setting race goals, then achieving them, brings tremendous satisfaction.
--It's fun being able to eat and drink most anything I want. (moderation is still the key though)
--I like runners. My oldest and dearest friends are runners.
--On days when the sidewalks are melting from the heat, or when there is a torrential downpour, or when the snow, wind, and ice drive others indoors, I run. I complete my workout, and I feel superior to other mere mortals.
--Running along the beach, on the streets of the big city, leaping over a snake while it suns itself on a shaded mountain trail, are all moments I cherish. I've been fortunate enough to run along the Atlantic shore, and along many a waterway. I've felt the spray from Niagara Falls, run along the mighty Mississippi in both Minnesota and Louisiana, received strange looks from men wielding machetes while cutting sugarcane in the Dominican Republic, struggled for air at 8,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, and have loved every step of the journey.
--I have run a marathon with my daughter and a half marathon with my wife.
--Each day I run is a new adventure. In 39 years, running has never become boring.
--Running keeps me sane.
--Running has helped me through the most difficult days of my life.
--Running allows me to think more clearly. It makes me more rational. I would like to think it has made me a better father, husband, teacher, coach and friend.
I retired from teaching last year, but I never plan to retire from running.
Why am I still running?
I'm still running for the same reason I breathe the air, eat food and drink water. I run because running sustains me. The daily question, "When am I going to run?" is to me as important as asking, "What's for dinner?"
So, I'm an addict, and I bet you are too. Embrace your addiction as perhaps the most positive thing you do in your life. You are perfecting and preserving the temple of which we are issued only one. Your running is a positive addiction that positively impacts those who are in your orbit.
And that is why you are still running.