I run because angry rock sounds better during Mile 6 of a planned 12-miler. Because I do more than just hear the lyrics. I feel them in my veins and my legs and my lungs. Because I can crank the sound to 11 and tune out the other noisy distractions of life.
I run because I like the peace and quiet. Because when I take off the earbuds, I’m left to listen to my rhythmic footsteps on crushed gravel, my even breathing, my beating heart. I experience the changes of the season a little more intimately, can feel them as I tick through the miles. I’m a wild animal running through the wilderness, and that’s pretty cool.
I run because I don’t believe in God. I believe in myself, in my own ability to transform my body and my mind. I run because I want to do my best in this life—to take advantage of everything it has to offer—and not worry so much about the next.
I run because when people piss me off—professionally, emotionally, politically, religiously—in the back of my mind I think I could kick their ass if I had to.
I run because I tell my kids I’m going to live until I’m at least 150 so they better get used to me. And if I’m out of shape, if I succumb to the conditions of old age, I won’t reach that goal. At the very least, I’ll be a burden. Besides, I hate taking medicine and going to the doctor, and I’m doing everything I can to stave that off for a while.
I run because my wife thinks I’m a little crazy for doing it. To run any distance, let alone 10 miles, 15 miles, 26.2, is akin to insanity in her mind.
I run because my wife sort of admires me for doing it. She’ll deny it, but secretly I think she likes telling people I ran a marathon, that I run half-marathons, that I’m training for an IronMan. Every roll of her eyes is an act of love on her part. Part of me runs to continue to impress her even as we grow older together. I want her to still think I’m hot.
I run because no one judges me when I do it. Because I don’t care if I’m fast or slow or somewhere in the middle. It’s not my time that matters anymore. What matters is the physical act of running itself. I stopped caring about the hours, the minutes, the seconds years ago. I’m never going to finish as fast as I once did, and, frankly, I don’t care.
I run because I like to buy outlandish, even garish, running shoes. They make me happy. They make me feel faster, the way I did when I was a kid and I got new shoes before every school year. We called them “tenny-go-fasters” back then. And you know what? I still do.
I run because I love to eat. I love to gorge myself on food. I don’t like being told to hold back on the buffet or to order the sensible meal when I dine out. I like to eat what I want when I want and as much as I want. Period.
I run because after a hot day on the road a cold glass of water tastes amazing. Or a beer. Especially a beer.
I run because it’s a small act of defiance on my part. Because every step is a slap in the face to those who say I can’t do something. Every mile is a kick to the groin to those who feel the need to give up or slow down. When I cross a finish line, when I reach a milestone, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. Because if I can run 10 miles, 15, what can’t I do? I’m invincible. I’m 40 and I feel 20. I could do a hell of a lot when I was 20. I can do a hell of a lot now, too. More even.
I run because I can. Because my body still works. Because my knees are still strong. Because my heart is still in top shape. It seems a shame to waste that.
I run because I can’t stop. Because I feel miserable when I don’t get out there. Because my mind is clearer, more focused, more centered when I’m done. Because it makes me a better dad. A better husband.
I run because I love it. I run because…well…what else would I do?
I run because I’m a little selfish and running is my “me” time.
I’m not running away from anything. I’m not running toward something. I’m not being chased. I’m just running. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.
I’m a runner.
Civics is Losing, Big Time
7 months ago