This morning I found this in a journal from 2004. From things mentioned in the entry, I’m guessing it was written in July 2004, after I had been running only about six months. I share it here not only to inspire myself as I look to start a new training program, but also hopefully to inspire you wherever you are (or like myself, are not) in your running.
“What am I doing here?” is a question I ask before every race I’ve run in so far, from that first 5K I did in June to the Good Neighbor Day 5K earlier this month. But within the question also lies the answer, and is the exact reason I’m running: in running, I am seeking the answer to a question.
The question is not only “what am I doing here,” but also “how far can I go?”. Other questions arise from those questions, such as “how can I improve my time?”, “when is the best time to sprint?”, “what do I eat that will make me a better runner?”. I am constantly seeking the ansers to the questions, whatever questions arise.
In a way, I know the answers to the questions. I am here in this practice run, because I am trying to lose weight. But, of course, that is not all. The answers lie within the questions I ask of myself. I run because I’m happy, I run because I’m free: to paraphrase that old song. I know it sounds corny, and sing-songy, but it is also true. In act of running, I am happy, even beneath the pained expression. I am free, even though I am a slave to what this body can do. I know I can break free, but I have to work at it.
Yes, I mean, the body. Running is a disconnect of the body, mind and spirit, but also a great amalgamation of the three: a pure mixture of gases as essential as breathing.
Running is a paradox. Yes, I run because I’m happy, I run because I’m free. But deep down, I am depressed. I am a slave to my inner passions. This is my way of breaking these bonds, or perhaps if you will, channeling those energies into more creative paths.
The path becomes the Struble Trail, the path in Broad Run Park — whatever route I take this morning, afternoon usually in my case. I am pounding out the path in search of the answer to the question: “What am I doing here?”
Do I always find the answer? Nine times out of 10, like this writing process, I do not. I catch a glimpse of the gone word, the past becomes the present, the future coincides. Then just as quickly, it is gone.