Why I run….

Running has, to me at least provided an outlet. A source of constant inspiration, struggle, an activity that seemingly knows no limits. A lot of people I regularly associate with fail to understand the psychology of the runner, specifically those of us interested in endurace-oriented events. This, (to me) has less to do with the actual running, than it does the philosophical point of view of the runner. In my opinion, with the exception (albeit slanted by my participation within) of the artists, our society has become increasingly numb, and complacent. This has created a sort of “dead” society, concerned more with the pursuit of comfort, mostly (in an American sense) in the form of ease of work, recreation, consumption, transportation, and every day goings on. This, however, is not what I would consider a true pursuit of happiness, especially when you consider the abundance of uppers/downers/anti-psychotics/anti-depressants that the general population consumes purely to maintain their lifestyle. Instead, my pursuit of happiness, is different. I do not yearn for variety, but rather choose to indulge extravagantly in one specific activity. In fact, I’m pretty sure I speak for most runners when I say that our passion, our extravagance, has little to do with worldly pleasures, but  rather with an over-indulgence in the most primal thing we can find, we forgo the technological extravagancies of our time, and instead pursue the most basic, simple activity we can.

This being said, the simplicity of running is paramount. On the micro scale, yes, we have an abundance of choices (especially those of us interested in trail running) do i put my foot here? there? etc etc, but on the macro scale,we are absolved of the anguish of decision making, for it is simply binary: Run, Don’t Run. That is it, pure, simple, no mistakes to be made, no judgements to be passed. Regardless of whether or not you prefer to run on the trail, the road, or the rubberized oval, a simple stopwatch mediates your effort, it does not lie, but rather provides the runner with a concise, pragmatic quantification of effort.

What, for me, makes the act of running, (especially on trail) so important to my daily life is the sense of aliveness that I get from doing so. Whether running up a switchback towards a summit, with my quads burning, or descending down a fast leaf covered single track, I am never anything but dwarfed by the power of the terrain I’m covering.  Granted, my typical running grounds are nothing compared to those in the Mountain timezone, or the Pacific Northwest, but the simple ascent of 1500  feet over rocky terrain is hard-won, and humbling. I run the same paths on an almost daily basis, and every day, they teach me something new, and push the boundaries of my comfort zone, both as a runner, and a human being. When I descend from these mountains, with the breeze in my hair, frost in my beard, and cuts and scrapes on my body, I am alive. and when I return to my home, peel off my shoes, and finally rest, I feel that I can truly sleep well, and look forward to tomorrow, when I’ll do it all over again.

This is how I pursue my life, and how I continue to feel alive. Everything exists as a result of it’s opposite, and without strenuous effort, restfulness would not be as beautiful.  So at the end of a long day, of running, creating, and music making, this is what allows me to sleep at night, and more importantly, this is what encourages me to get out of bed in the morning when that god-awful alarm starts buzzing well before the sun comes out to shine.

Allamuchy, Demonstrating the Chris Carey Summit Pose

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