The reason we all strive for an active lifestyle is unique to each individual. Some of us choose one particular activity and stick with it for years, making it a part of who we are. Others experiment with a myriad of activities and dabble in several depending on what stage of life we are in. All in all, and regardless of what your activity of choice is, something keeps us coming back for more!
As I stare down the proverbial road of my next 26 miler, I often ask myself, “Why do I do this”? Fifteen years into running and you would think one would have a solid answer to this question. As I look back over the years my reasons for running have evolved just as much as I have. Each year providing a new challenge either personally or physically, but ultimately providing a new reason to stay active. My most recent read puts the feeling of our “real reason” to stay active into words that will hopefully spark you to find your “real reason”. Authors Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea state it eloquently in Run Like A Mother.
The beauty of the mile 26s – no, that’s not an oxymoron – lies not in their difficulty but in their simplicity. When all that’s left is you and a challenge, running is distilled down to two things. Putting one foot in front of the other and summoning a visceral feeling. Not the awful feelings of suffering and resistance as you gut it out, but the one that soars through you and almost carries you when you realize, I’ve got this.
The feeling swirls within you as you circle the track and traverse single-track trails. The feeling is the one that flushes your cheeks as you answer “yes” when somebody asks if you’re a runner. The feeling taunts you when you’re debating a run: Do you crave me enough today to get out there? The feeling gets mentioned frequently when you justify your running to your friends, husband, co-workers. The feeling hibernates in your soul when you take a break but it is awakened as soon as you run a mile again. The feeling floods you when you cross a finish line. The feeling is why you-and we-run, mile 26s and all. We guess we could live our lives without it, but we’re not sure we’d want to (pg. 205).
Find your mile 26 – your real reason to be active! Bring it on Boston!