Why run? Why go through the pain and the misery that often accompanies long distance running?
I used to decry running as the dullest thing I could imagine. Just endlessly pounding pavement to end up back where I started. Some benefits are apparent. Weight loss, endorphins, feeling good about accomplishing something you couldn’t do previously.
Sure, getting in shape and working out was an immediate benefit for me. I recently found a picture from December 2011, where I was at my heaviest. A full 15 kilos heavier than I am now. Give or take, I’m now a mere 82% of the guy I was then.
But you could argue that now it’s done, through good food and an active lifestyle, there’s no need for me to continue, or at least there’s no need to work anywhere near as hard.
But is that human nature? When we accomplish something, don’t we want to accomplish more? Isn’t it enough that we do things simply because they are hard?
It took me four or five tries to become a runner. The first time, coincidentally in spring 2012, lasted about two sessions. That was that until autumn 2013, where I was seized by the necessity to do something, anything to break out of a slump. I kept it up for a month or so. Then there was a lull, before trying again, again for a month. And then nothing for a season and then again. And on and off it went.
It has never become a habit. It has always been an effort. It has always been demanding and its always required willpower.
But eventually it became worth the effort, worth enduring cold, rain, even snow. It became a fulfilling activity in its own right. Something I do because I learnt to genuinely enjoy it. Though that feeling comes and goes. As proven by this very blog. A blog set up to discuss sports and running which seemingly discusses everything but…
So what next? The marathon was an experience but I’m unsure it’s one I want to repeat (for now). Do I speed up? Do I aim to go further? Do I try something else?
Whatever the next challenge is. It has one criteria. One criteria which I think is at the basis of all human endeavour.
It cannot be easy.
If it were easy I would be able to do it already. And that’s how to add value to our own lives isn’t it? To be able to wake up in the morning and ask ourselves. “Am I a better human today than I was yesterday?”