Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why do we run?

Today I ran the Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park. Though it was not the longest, nor the most demanding, it was one of the hardest races I have ever done. For the first time in my life I trained almost entirely on a treadmill. So when the race started at the top of the park with a giant downhill run followed by a ridiculously long uphill, I was in a bad place mentally before the first mile had even been completed. It was the only race in which the first half was more difficult for me than the last half. In fact, the last three miles flew by.

But during those first three all I wanted to do was stop. And, like I typically do when any question pops into my head, after wondering "Why do we run?" I researched some potential answers. I found some websites and articles with interesting ideas, but nothing that really suited me. I'm not sure what gives me the desire to get out and rack up miles. And I'm even less sure about why the more I run the more I want to run. I know that a large portion of my race today was extremely unpleasant, but I am still disappointed that I can't run in next weekend's race. I know that I am determined to figure out a way to be prepared for the first of the NYC Grand Prix half marathons on January 21st. I know that I am desperately wanting to run the NYC marathon next November.

And I know that in running I am harder on myself and more competetive with myself than in anything else that I do. I had a poor time today, and the disappointment was greater than anything I can remember in recent history. I spent a large portion of the rest of the day looking at training plans and eating choices.

A friend in college used to say that I had a reason for everything (including a reason for why I had reasons for everything,) so this inability to understand why I am hooked on running is strange to say the least. So I reserved a book at the library called Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich. Maybe Mr. Heinrich will provide me with some answers.

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