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For The Love Of Running

I ran the 2015 Bolder Boulder 10K, and the imprint of 50,000+ souls trotting along is still echoing within me.

2015 Bolder Boulder 10K Finish...the stadium was packed!
2015 Bolder Boulder 10K Finish…the stadium was packed!

What a special thing. When else could you have so many people all moving together in one direction? Not even black friday doorbuster crowds at Walmart could compare. I am sure that each and every runner was experiencing at least a tiny bit of that joyous natural runners high for the rest of the day. I bet the dispensaries did little business that day.

I never regret having gone out for a run. Even when I return from a hilly jaunt all sweaty and occasionally bloodied – I often run the trails you know – I am glad I did so. I can’t say that about all things.

Running puts me into that state of mind that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “Flow”. I just feel good when I am out there and warmed up, cruising along and letting my mind wander. The slower paces suit me best.

Some people say that walking does the same for the them. It absolutely does not for me. I can walk all day long and while it might feel good, it is a totally different feel than the gliding sensation I get while jogging. It’s the difference between sorbet and high quality ice cream.

My joy of running went up remarkably after my experience with the Tarahumara during the Copper Canyon Ultramarathon (the one featured in the book “Born to Run”). For much of the race I was playing cat and mouse with a teenage Tarahumara girl trotting along in dollar-store jelly sandals, an ankle length skirt and a billowing blouse. Meanwhile, I was decked out full ultra-geek gear. She was crushing me, dancing along the rocks like a little mountain goat. I was lumbering through in survival mode. How she managed to finished the 50+ mile trail run was beyond me, but she did it.

What did she know that I didn’t?

That experience made me question why I was so uptight about tracking all my times and competing on Strava and with myself. I started to take a more lighthearted approach to running. The less I stressed about my runs and the fewer time and distance goals I placed around them, the more I enjoy them.

This doesn’t means I don’t set goals around running. I still have a sense of how far and quick I want to cover ground in a training run or race, I just don’t take it so seriously. I also do things that are sacrilegious to a dedicated runner, I stop and walk when I feel like it or when I pass by a dog in need of a good pet. I will pause to chit-chat if I run into someone I know. I’ll sit on a rock to admire a view.

I now run for the love of running. Not to lose weight or to set a new PR. I run because I enjoy it. It makes me happy.

Why do you run?