This is far from complete but here’s a few thoughts on why I run.
I run for clarity
When I run my mind runs too. Its not empty but theres only one thing to do: run. So as I run it sort through the day, through the problems and often the obvious solutions finally dawn on me, or sometimes just clarity about the actual problem.
I spent on day stressed out feeling like things just weren’t working and I wouldn’t possibly get everything done. Within 2 mins of feet moving I realised the obvious things I missed: I have a team, why am I even doing some of these things myself when I have a team?!
I run for calm
Running is meditative. To start with my mind chases random thoughts and ideas. After a while I can start to see past those. In a sitting meditation I focus on my breathing and watch it come and go. When I run its similar: I focus on my breathing and sometimes just the pain. The burn in my legs, and effort to get oxygen demands my attention.
I’ve learnt over years that when something happens that leaves me angry and fuming: it might be what happened or it might just be the day. Sometimes I can channel the anger into fixing something that really should have been dealt with a long time ago, but often trying to do that might upset someone and create a bigger mess. I never know. I run to calm down. Sometimes when I’m done there’s no anger left. Other times there’s still a spark but usually with more idea why I’m annoyed and what I can do about it.
I run to go further
If I head out to hike there are plenty of spots that would take me all day to get there. I have to carry food, and more gear. But if I run I cover a 3 hour hike in maybe 1.5 hrs. I live near Waitakere Ranges, running means I can disappear into the hills for a few hours and get to beautiful spots I’d otherwise miss.
I run to explore
There’s a real joy to exploring. Just heading out of a trail with only a vague idea which path I’ll take. Sure I take a map and do some prep, but I have 3 or 4 options and I can just pick whatever looks most interesting when I get there.
I run to see how far I can go
I think this actually motivates me more than I notice. I love to just see how far I can get, how much it will hurt, where I’ll end up. This is the temptation to do an ultra, to do a triathlon, or just to enter that next race. Can I do it? Can I do it faster this time?