An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ultimately, we run alone.

I've heard it said that, ultimately, we all die alone.

Not so sure I really believe that (which is a subject for another blog entirely). But there's a parallel to running. Ultimately, we run alone.

I was just thinking on the last time I ran completely alone. It's been well over a week. Either coworkers on my lunchtime runs, Jake (the dog) on runs from home, or my wife this past weekend on her final test prior to the Chicago half marathon, have accompanied me. Pace has been a mixture of my preferences and the preferences of those I've run with, as well as distance.

Regardless, though, running is something that we have to do on our own. I'm not saying that we have to run without any one at our side, canine or human (or silver-back gorilla, or whatever other beast type you prefer), I'm just saying that running, the putting of one foot in front of another, is an effort that you must do for yourself. No one else can run for you. It's kind of like going to the bathroom -- proxy is not an option.

You're the one who has to lift your legs and move them. No one can do that for you. And along with that, the final, essential motivation to do so has to come from within.

That's not to say that there can't be external motivators. For some people, it's running to something, like an event. For some, it's running away from something, like disease. These can be the stimulus for seeing yourself in a different place, which then makes the motivation internal. Some people get momentarily motivated by a song, or a sunny day.

And then there are some for whom the activity itself is its own motivation. These are the ones that most people call crazy. Fine. I'm crazy. Certifiable. Proudly so.

Yes, I do "train for events". These are the impetus for extending my mileage, for making sure I can run the distance comfortably (okay, not "comfortably", just with no doubt that I can make the distance), and with some luck, quickly. But even when there isn't an event looming on the horizon, I have a kind of minimum level of mileage that is a comfort zone for me, an easy pace at around 8 m/m. These are the things that I tend toward, if I were to be running in a vacuum of ouside influences -- no events, no running partners, just me and a pair of shoes (sorry Jason).

There is something extremely cathartic in a solo run, where you can really be completely alone. But even when running with some one, you have to monitor yourself, because no one else really can. No matter what else is going on, there's a part of you that has to run alone.

And when you're racing, it's especially important to find that inner space and run there.

Ultimately, it's where we run.

1 comment:

derscott said...

Great post, David. I'll join you in the certifiable camp.