Why Do You Run? An Existentialist Angst Response @Trailrunningmag @Runnersworlsuk @OrdnanceSurvey #GetOutside & #Run

I apologise in advance for the existentialist angst in this post….

I run because it is fun!  I run because I get to see cool places, lots of cool places and I get to see them in a shorter space of time.  I run, so I can sit on top of big things, looking all contemplative when in reality I’m tired from running up the hill.  ;P

 

Have a great Christmas!

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Why Do You Run?  Recurrent Rumination 

There’s nothing special in this post.  It is just a way to externalise something that is very slowly chipping away at my resolve, and maybe by externalising it I can start to redirect it.  So, feel free to stop reading.  These are just the words of someone feeling sorry for themselves and trying to stop the self pity. 

Here’s the problem with these ponderations.  I’m not running as often as I was.

The drive to get out seems to have been misplaced and I feel an old mental state returning.  I have been aware of it for a while and instead of acknowledgement I have sought distractions.  Just getting out and running doesn’t seem to be good enough, but I’m not actually going out to run!  So is the mood a result of not running or is the not running a result of the mood?

In truth I have no idea, but I think my current lost mojo and mood comes from a few places.  Discussions with an old friend about the past, the inevitable come down from a summer of experiencing freedom in a way I didn’t think existed and the remains of poor past choices.

“Why do I run?” is an important questions in dealing with the current low.  I am not myself, and I know I run to return to myself and let the grime of modern living fall away, but how does one find their mojo when it has been misplaced?  

I don’t know the answer and I’m a bit lost as to where to find the answer.  Maybe I should stop feeling sorry for myself.  Maybe I should stop looking to the past, screw the future and go back to living one moment at a time.  

And there it is…..

I knew there was a reason to writing nonsense like this, and having those conversations with yourself that you can’t have with others, whether there are no others or they are not the people you’d like to speak to.

I run to help me find that feeling of living one moment at a time.  In fact I run to return to the present and stop worrying about the future or dwell on the negatives of the past.  It’s time to start climbing out again.

So why do you run?

Sleep Deprived Musings Of An Ultra Runner

As teachers, we encourage reflective thought in our students.  We are encouraged to be reflective practitioners with our teaching and continually review, refresh or improve out practice.

The weekends adventures (all be it, joining and supporting someone else’s adventure), and the looming start of my challenge (26th of July) has given me some time to think.  A couple of things kept cropping up during the run in random conversations.

1.  People don’t understand why

This is a common thing said by fell and ultra runners.  People find it difficult to comprehend the reason behind what we do as runners.  The distances are hard to comprehend, the lack of sleep, need for food and the persistent forward motion are also tricky to grasp.  Why would someone give up comforts for such a mundane activity?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, not being happy with the “if you are asking you won’t understand” response.  It seems (for me anyway) to stem from a love of the elegance of it all.  To be able to navigate through empty landscapes, cross vast expanses of land and scale mountains with an air of effortlessness, is just simply put, graceful.  There is something of the greek myths and legends about the people who take on these journeys, were even failure to complete a challenge becomes a victory in itself.  Simply completing one of these endurance challenges wouldn’t be enough for someone to understand the reasons why for one simple reason…

The reasons why is ephemeral, and shifts.  What begins as a way of digging yourself out of a dark hole changes into a myriad of colourful reasons, with only one common theme.  A persistent drive to move forwards.  It seems for me the only common theme to my reasons for  taking on these challenges is seeking a simplicity in my existence.  A way to constantly redirect those inner demons that slow my development as a person.

2.  What are you running from?

Often disguised as the question ‘why do you run?’ or “why did you start running?”, the question is still the same.  What is it that you run away from?

The reasons are personal, but they seem to be variations on a theme.  Most people run because they realise that they aren’t happy with themselves, whether it is their weight or bad habits.  I started running to overcome a low point, where happiness was something fleeting, but now I simply run to be.  Not to see if I can run further, not to hide problems that I don’t want to acknowledge and not to prove a point or seek some ego boosting prestige.  Running tends to bring with it a sense of freedom and a sense that you are in fact being your true self.  Clarity in thought, responding to your bodies needs, moving with the landscape as apposed to fighting it and experiencing the moment.  In fact, the moment itself seems to stop having the same meaning.  I find it shifts in length, at times being short and others stretching out as though it could be infinitely long.  Despite this chaotic nature, one thing brings it all together.  The sense of nothingness that engulfs me.  Not a nothingness where I seize to exist, but more an indifference to the normal demands on a person, where you can just be.  I’ve struggled to put this feeling in to words, and I still find it difficult to do so.  All I can say is this….  it is the one mental place, were it is possible to truly acknowledge who you really are and measure your value and significance.  Realising that we are but a tiny blip in time is somewhat scary and to many sounds a little depressing but its this feeling that brings a smile to my face every time, regardless of the pain or tiredness Im feeling.

It should be interesting to see whether my thinking shifts, or whether I discover anything new about myself.  Long endurance challenges are said to be the perfect arenas to see what we are made of and to test our limits.  I have even heard ultra running legends say that they reveal a person for who they really are.  Right now I have just two desires in terms of the challenge…  To complete it successfully and not disappoint those that have given their support and to allow the selfishness of the whole adventure do some good for others who are less fortunate.

So…  after that long and rambling piece of philosophical thinking, why do you run?

Why Do You Run? #barefootlejog

Over the last two years I’ve asked myself this question repeatedly.  It’s an exercise in learning about who I am and what my true character is.

We tend to walk around under the gaze of others and create, in the words of John Barthes, a pose.  A fictitious version of ourselves that hides our true nature amongst lies.

So, why is it that I run at the moment?

It seems I run for two reasons…

I run to be myself.  Not the version that everyone sees as I go about doing my job or daily life, but the version that is actually me.  Free to just exist without constraints or conventions.  It’s a glorious feeling to realise that you can travel from place to place and experience it all so intimately, without the romantic facade that we often create.  It’s almost like I see the world around me as it truly is and that I’m privileged to do so.

Secondly, I feel I’m proving a point.  Not necessarily to others but also to myself.  Our bodies are stronger and more resilient than we give them credit for.  We are to accustomed to the nineties of modern life, and often find ourselves trapped by them.

Now, it’s easy to misconstrue this whole post, and read it as one person’s words against wearing shoes, and how barefoot running is the natural way of running and shoes are evil, but…

I do it for me, and if you think I’ll start to preach about its virtues, you might find I don’t.  Running long distance is a selfish act.  It is in no way about others.  It creates a situation where, no matter how many people you are with, ultimately, you run within your own shell.

This is why I decided to attempt the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats (aka LeJog) barefooted, and announce it as apposed to just get on with it.  It would be too easy to make it a selfish personal act, and not allow it to in some way benefit others.  The more research I do into the impact of strokes, the more I realise that I’ve made the right choice on a wider scale of things, since I a personal level there was no real choice.

I run barefoot to prove I can, despite the lack of years of training and regardless of the terrain.  It is just something that I do to prove that I am alive and that I work to live. 

Why do you run?