“What are you running from?” is my least favorite reaction to talking about running.
I won’t call myself a runner but I do enjoy running as a form of exercise. I do it frequently enough that it occasionally comes up in conversation and this topic inevitably spawns sarcastic rebuttal.
“I can NOT run that far” is a common one. I have even started seeing oval-shaped “00.0” stickers on cars mocking the common “13.1” and “26.2” versions. Each time I hear this, I am reminded that I used to have that same attitude. But then I just started running one day and found that I liked it.
But “What are you running from” is the only reaction I have heard that makes me angry. Because I am not running from anything. There is no pop-psychology analysis to be inferred in my physical activities. I think it is more meditative than anything. Running provides me with a time in which I can feel productive but allow my mind to rest or wander without judgment.
“What are you running from” goes against my whole world view. I am usually futuristic to a fault. If anything, I am running, Icarus-like, toward something.
We all have aspects of our lives that may seem ridiculous to outsiders. Whether it is music making, backpacking, running long distances, or just binge-watching Netflix.
But those things that we do that make us seem crazy are maybe the kinds activities we should seek out. Why shy away from something because it pushes at the boundaries of perception? Why limit ourselves to only do reasonable things for a very average amount of time?
I say that if I feel so inclined, I will eat an entire family-sized bag of miniature Reese’s in one sitting. Or I may run 16 miles. Or I may sleep for 14 hours or stay awake for 36. As long as I understand the consequences of doing these things frequently, why should I not?
Why should I not hike 100 miles with a 40-pound pack on my shoulders? Why should I not help organize a 24-hour performance? Why should I not stay up until 5:00 A.M. writing electronic music even though I have class at 8:00?
Why run away from the things that might make us unique and interesting? If something sounds crazy, I would prefer to run toward it.
(Featured image from ecoglobe.org)