Friday, May 23, 2008

Why I Love Running

Why I Love are just 40 reasons that come to mind, and please feel free to add your own in the comments below:

1. I feel good.

2. It has taught me to be a finisher in life.

3. Every run is like a personal journey and I know how Native Americans like the Navajo must have felt on their own spiritual quests. Seriously. Yesterday I did 7 miles in chilly driving rain at Central Park, and it felt like a true journey, highs and lows, achievements and failures, pushing limits and my mind constantly going to different places of memories, of creativity, of dreams, of desires, of interesting and strange thoughts. I realized that this is how all of my runs are and they are personal journeys.

4. I have learned more about my own body and health in the last year than in nearly a half-century. Amazing.

5. The more you run, the faster you get.

6. I am one with nature. The next photo I take for all of you on this blog will be of a tree that I discovered on East Drive near 72nd Street, and I stopped and gazed at it for about 5 minutes as the rain made its massive two lower boughs look like big arms. It has a face, and a crown. It shall be Triton. I will show you soon.

7. It feels like I am living and adding years. I think the first half of this decade was sort of a death spiral, plunged forward with cigarettes, stress, loneliness, pressure and woe, with an occasional side of helplessness mixed in. I always felt in the back of my mind like I was knocking years off my life little by little. Life changed.

8. It doesn't cost that much. It was $136 to enter this November's New York City Marathon. It was $90 to enter the St. Louis Marathon. Every 400 or so miles I need to buy a new pair of shoes. I take care of my running gear and every once in a while will add something new but I mostly have what I need for hot or cold. Just bought a new pack of Breathe-Right strips $20 I ever spent.

9. Suddenly you have friends.

10. Energy is way up and after I run in the morning, I will be unbelievable that day at work. OK, I am always unbelievable at work.

11. And did I mention it makes you confident, even a little bit dangerously cocky but what the hell. I guess I don't mind that much if I embarrass myself. It works for Nelly. My last stance be a stance of a General Custard / I hot dog cuz I can I got the cheese and mustard.

12. My butt is thumpin, now it's time to start bumpin.

13. It makes travel more fun. I see my friends traveling around the world and running marathons, whether it's in the Arctic Circle (George), Rome (Bob and Jenn) or London (EliZZabeth). That sure sounds good to me. I will be working the Summer Olympics from Aug. 5-25 in Beijing, and although some elite runners are abstaining to do the city's horrible pollution, I definitely will run there.

14. It makes you set goals and shows you how to achieve them. I am now hoping to add a marathon next January, possibly Miami.

15. The Zone. There is nothing like it when you slip into that world of endorphin madness, and suddenly you realize that you have been running without hindrance.

16. It is the only time in life where you can compete in the same event as the sport's most elite competitors in the world. Pretty cool to be in the same race as Lance Armstrong and look up both of our results. You can't be on the same field as A-Rod, on the same court as Shaq or on the same Pittsburgh ice as Crosby, you can't be in the same tournament as Sharapova or on the same course as Tiger, but ANYONE can run (or walk or wheel) in the NYC Marathon if you just start training.

17. It's exciting.

18. It feels good to ascend to the top of a hill just because you know you get to run down the other side.

19. Views like running over the Golden Gate Bridge.

20. My mom is proud. Ha.

21. You will deal with some nagging injuries from time to time, but it's all worth it for those times in between when you feel like you can go out and just run like you were four years old, without caring about your form.

22. You get to help others. Part of my entry fee last weekend went to help kidney disease treatment and prevention. This happens year-round. I rarely run any races that aren't benefiting some kind of organization.

23. It makes you a creative force at work and better by far at what you do in your career.

24. You can eat cupcakes and other crap. You just have to know when not to.

25. I learned that I actually like to chug water all day long. I also go to the bathroom a lot more than I ever did in my life.

26. You feel like everything looks better about you, even your hair. The one possible exception being your toes. The nail next to my left big toe has been black ever since the day after the April 6 St. Louis Marathon. I was told it probably will fall off and a new one will grow back. I have no idea how that happened because it never hurt once during the race. Weird stuff happens. So far it is still there, it's just not the right color. If I was on a beach I would be burying my feet in the sand probably.

27. I am more adventurous.

28. You don't care if it's raining, because you are soaked anyway.

29. Supposedly you sleep better, except for the night before a marathon. Personally, I have yet to see this ramification because I am burning the candle at every end right now.

30. It's sexy as hell.

31. You realize early on that you actually can go far, carry some money with you in your little pouch pocket, stop after 5 or 6 miles if you want to buy an extra GU or whatever it might be, and then keep running. So you basically become your own car or taxi or limo at times.

32. The camaraderie is awesome when you have thousands of runners all packed together ready for the start of a race. You are in each other's world.

33. It's a good way to blog.

34. It's a way I can teach an example to my sons -- that they can accomplish anything in life if they want it badly enough.

35. Really you can just delete the last six words of No. 34.

36. GU!

37. I can't believe I have waited until No. 37 to write about my iPod. I know there is no way I would be doing this if not for my Nano Red. I will have it with me on 99 out of 100 runs, perhaps more. Including marathons, for whenever I feel like it. And that in turn has kept me younger, alert to the songs my 14-year-old listens to. I am still amazed whenever I am battling up a hill and suddenly "Heart of a Champion" comes on the Shuffle and Nelly's doing the breathe-thing and they're saying "Five more! You can do it mayne!" I gets buffer like Michael Redd...hear what I said?????

38. The Big Cats Running Team!!! I love being a Big Cat. You get to meet other Big Cats. And if you click the No. 1 friend on my list and look at Bob's list of the things to know about being a Big Cat, the coolest one is that you can't be snooty. I still have seen an occasional snooty Big Cat from time to time, to be honest with you, but overall I think most people read what he wrote there.

39. It was a great way to spend the last midnight New Year's Eve.

40. I can dance across the finish line if I want to.

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