I finally asked myself this question.
After an epic half marathon at Run Melbourne where I managed a time I was really proud of, 1 hour, 45 minutes, 32 seconds. I swear this result far exceeded my expectations after a very interrupted month of ill health and injury. Hampered preparation + a great result = very sore legs…
I recovered OK by midweek, and readied myself for a huge PB just 6 days later. My boys Dod’s and Sketch were pumped and ready to run 30km. I had never run more than 26.5km, that even that was back in February 2013. I had also never run more than 3 hours before.
I finished the run at 30.1 km in a time of 3 hours, 34 minutes, with an elevation of around 800 metres. Dods had mapped out the entire circumference of Lysterfield Lake, and we commenced at 6am in complete darkness. I had to get out of bed at 5am, after 4.5 hours sleep, in the dark, freezing cold, wet weather, to run.
Why do I run? Why do I share my story? Is it for affirmation that I’m doing ok? Am I trying to prove something to someone? If I don’t run, am I letting someone down if I don’t?
Running has given me something.
It’s provided me with a new sport, and lots of new friends. People that are motivated to improve themselves, and they do it through running. That doesn’t mean that you can’t improve yourself if you don’t run, this is just one medium in which to do so. But it connects you in a lot of ways. Getting better at running longer distances, in faster times; you can not do so without sacrifice. You need to sacrifice time, energy, and you need to endure pain and almost enjoy pushing the threshold of your body’s limits. It has given me understanding.
And running has shown me something.
That not all people understand running. I was one of those people 2 years ago. I never understood a good mate Danny, why he ran. I didn’t care for his sacrifice. I didn’t believe in his efforts or respect it anywhere near as much as what I should have. And now I understand. And I also understand why many of my friends don’t care for what I am doing, and I understand why many friends don’t care much for my running updates. It does nothing to my resolve. Inadvertently, there is no doubt that I feel more connected to those that support my running, and much more distant to those that don’t care. It’s human nature isn’t it? Life. You never stop learning, and soon enough you move on.
I harbour no resentment to non supportive friends, and I harbour no hatred of detractors. How can I when I myself had no regard or care for this vocation just 2 years ago?
Although I do publicise my exploits on Facebook, and I Blog about it occasionally, I like to think that I don’t push my new sport onto anyone. I don’t think less of anyone just because they don’t run; I certainly don’t have a superiority complex. I am one of many thousands of runners, and I’ll never win anything though running apart from personal bests against my own shadow. I can’t hope to compete against people that have been running all their lives. But nevertheless, I’ve stepped up my training. I want to be top 50%, top 40%, I even hope to eventually make the top 20% or better of races I compete in.
So, why DO I run?
I run for my children, so they can be proud of their father.
I run for my wife, so she doesn’t have to grow old with a pot bellied couch potato.
I run for my friends, and for mate ship that I am so thankful to have found.
To a lesser extent, I think I also run to prove people wrong. This is not a passing phase for me, this is not a fad. A lot of people don’t believe in me, I know that.
Currently, I think I lack the self belief and drive to just run for me. I’m not convinced that I would run as much if it wasn’t for those 3 reasons. One day, I might run for me. But right now, it’s not the driving factor. If I sleep in, letting myself down isn’t enough motivation for me.
For me, if I don’t run, I let down my family and my friends.
And I don’t plan on doing that any time soon.
Thanks for listening,