To all my friends running their first full marathon or half marathon I wish the best of luck to you. I hope the following inspires you today and every day you lace up your running shoes. Life is boring without challenges. Embrace them. Be not afraid of the unknown. You will conquer that next hill I promise!!
RUNNING IS LIFE.
As I lay in bed trying to get some sleep before the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon/ Half Marathon, of which I will be running the less daunting distance, my thoughts reflected back to the growth of our Selden Hills running group over just the last two years. In particular the evolution of the Warrior of the Week program I unveiled almost two years ago with my own Saturday Spotlight running story.. The first several editions were not of the Warrior of the Week variety. That came later on as I added additional posts each day in addition to the Saturday post.
As we approach the 100th edition of Warrior of the Week including those first editions, it has been become apparent to me through this process that running is life! With its humble beginnings in October 2013, my Saturday Spotlight explained my running origins as simply a way for me to lose some excess weight to look and feel better and to hopefully lower my slowly rising blood pressure. The post quickly became a more detailed and thorough explanation for many many of you to tell your story of how running did that and so much more. It helped you cope with and even survive life’s tragedies, hardships and your sick and failing bodies. Running brought renewed health, peace and tranquility into broken and chaotic lives.
Over the past 24 months of reading your stories I was slowly learning that running was not only good for you physically but just as importantly it was good for you mentally and emotionally as well.
Let’s look back and see why we run.
The human body is hard wired to run. It was running on two legs millions of years ago through necessity. We ran as predators to catch our food to survive or to survive as prey trying to avoid being eaten ourselves! Millions of years later we no longer have to deal with these basic aspects of survival. We now talk about endorphins and the runners high we feel after a good run. The chemical changes in our brain and body that make us feel so happy. As the blood rushes through our veins and floods our brain with oxygenated fuel we gain clarity. We see life’s obstacles and challenges and come up with solutions to them as we move our bodies forward. Working our muscles and tendons in unison. How many of us have gone for a run with a troubled mind and returned refreshed and knowing what we needed to do to bring balance back into our lives?
Today we, for the most part, no longer need to run to eat or avoid being eaten. We run because it is a part of who we are as human beings. It is in our biological history. It is part of who we are. Once you discover running you have unlocked the door to the mysteries of life. You have been given the keys to the kingdom. You no longer have to wander in the wilderness wondering why you are here. The answer is you are here to LIVE. it’s as simple as that. To live each day to its fullest. In today’s complex world we need running in our lives more than ever. We need clarity more than ever.
Once running becomes a part of your life you never want it to stop. It not only becomes part of who you are it becomes more than that. A curtain is lifted and it is as if you have stepped into a whole new world! The physical and chemical changes that occur to your body and mind are real. They make running a necessity not just a recreational activity. When you run regularly you are happy and in balance with nature. When you don’t run regularly your mind and body crave it. If you don’t satisfy this biological need you get irritable, sullen and unhappy, negatively effecting everyone around you as well. Running is life giving.
So as we approach the 100th edition of the Warrior of the Week here at the Selden Hills I am no longer surprised when I read how running has changed a life for the better. How running allowed someone to cope with unbearable loss, heartache or physical disability and sickness. I actually sincerely feel sorry for those that do not run. They find it boring or pointless or too physically demanding. They will never feel the joy we feel at the end of a hard run or the peacefulness of an easy run with a training partner or group of running friends. Nor will they experience the calming effect a run through nature brings, listening to Gods music and witnessing his creation as the birds sing as the dawn approaches and the sun rises on the horizon. They won’t experience the heat of the sun warm our skin or the falling snow melting on our lips as we put one foot in front of the other on a run.
We are hard wired to run. To not do so is not living life to its fullest potential. When we run we are given the tools to deal with life’s ups and downs. It provides us with the armor necessary to go to battle each day facing the unknown challenges ahead. Sadness, hardships and even death will inevitable happen to us all. I believe running equips us to do battle with these aspects of life and allow us to then continue to live happy and productive lives. Running gives us the power to turn sadness into happiness. It is one of the best lessons we can teach our children and our children’s children going forward.
To run is to live. To live life as it was meant to be lived. Fully and without fear of the future or the unknown. Embrace life. Thrive under its influence. Lead by example so others may follow and discover how to enjoy life to its fullest!
So as I conclude I see the clock striking 4:30AM and the time I need for my pre race preparation. I can not wait to once again step outside my door……..