I have an affinity with running, one that has grown over the years to become a passion. That passion, at least for me, is rarely motivated by the reasons that people commonly assume are behind the act of running. To lose weight? My weight is just fine, thank you! To improve cardiovascular fitness? What’s that!?! To win races? Yeah, right! To clock ever-faster pacing? Couldn’t care less!
Don’t get me wrong, I always strive to beat my PBs in every race that I enter and my mood swings depending on whether I succeed or not. But I can honestly say, hand to heart, that wanting to become a better and faster runner is about the further thing from my mind whenever I lace up my trusty pair of Brooks and head out for a jog.
So what is it, then? Why would anyone put himself through the drudgery of running, putting undue pressure on the joints, unsightly sweat on the body and unattractive grimace on the hills? Why would anyone do this, often for an hour or two at a time, when there are so many more pleasant things to do in life?
Fucked if I know!
But let me put it another way. What if you were blessed with the opportunity to take up a hobby?
A hobby that doesn’t cost you a cent and doesn’t require a personal trainer yelling in your ear to do 10 more push-ups when all you want to do is throw up.
A hobby that rescues you from all the rings, pings, and blings of the modern digital world, then transports you to a tranquil one where there is nothing but you and your thoughts. Better still, this hobby doesn’t charge by the hour, nor judge you and urge you to be more positive, change the world and get rich doing it.
A hobby that asks nothing of you but just yourself, warts and all, and away from the prying eyes of others.
A hobby that may trigger some physical discomfort at first, but one that gradually gives away to an emotional high so great that you simpy can’t wait for the next time.
A hobby capable of releasing endorhpins which linger long after its completion, and genuinely makes you feel like a better and calmer person, without the expensive input from a Tony Robbins or a Deepak Chopra.
A hobby that facilitates the one precious commodity that is becoming increasing rare in this world – time to think in peace. To think about life, parenthood, children, relationship, work. Or even more important stuff such as: What’s the fascination with Twitter? How am I going to entertain my 4 year-old son tomorrow while he’s getting a haircut? Who died and made actors the voice of reason when it comes to human affairs of significance? Whose ass do I have to kiss to get an audience with Haruki Murakami or Martin Scorsese?
Now, what if I told you that the collateral benefit of this hobby is that you may lose some excess weight and, indeed, may even allow you to eat like a pig and still unlikely to gain much back. What if this hobby also incidentally improves your cardiovascular fitness, a term that I still don’t understand but sounds mighty healthy? And what if this hobby has the ancillary potential to open up a whole new world of people, both in the physical running world, as well as in the virtual blogging one?
That hobby is, of course, running. And, as with most things in life, you will never fully appreciate what I’m talking about unless you actually try it.
Most importantly, for those who feel that they are not built to run, don’t look like runners and don’t feel like being ridiculed whilst on a run, allow me to say one last thing. And on this, I am fairly confident that I speak for most true-blooded runners.
When a runner sees another who doesn’t look like one for whatever reason, he has absolutely nothing but admiration for the person. Why? Because great inspiration often comes from watching, not someone effortlessly doing something he was born to do, but someone busting his gut doing something he has no business doing.
Keep on pounding.