Thursday, October 17, 2013
Why do I run?
Why do I run? I have asked myself this question many a times. And the only answer I can give myself is that I don’t know why I run. I don’t know whether I am hooked onto running or have become an addict. I can only say that I enjoy running for many reasons.
The sense of freedom:
Running is one activity where I feel free. I am not bound by any rules and regulations. Sure there are things like running with the correct form etc. But once you are on the trial and running, you are pretty much on your own. And I love this part of running where I am on my own. I get lost in my thoughts. Sometimes I am so lost in thoughts that I slow down or start walking and sometimes I would have run faster than usual. By the time I get back my mind to the present, I realise that either I have covered a good distance or I realise that I am walking and have to get back to running.
I am not bothered what I am wearing or what others are wearing. I am not bothered how about how I am running or how others are running. Of course there are these aspects like running in rhythm, running at a certain pace etc, but once you are on the trail all pace is the same pace. Sometimes the body complies with my request and runs a little faster and sometimes the body just refuses and I have to coax it and cajole it or even bribe it. But after a certain point there is pretty much nothing else that I can do but just carry on at whatever speed or pace that I can carry on at that particular time and on that particular day.
Running is one place where I feel that there are no restrictions. I don’t have to behave in a certain way, I don’t have to watch out for what I say or what I do. I am totally free to be what I am. I can let myself loose and be exactly who I am. That is why I crave for long runs and I am not satisfied with short runs. I look forward to the weeks where our mileage is more than the days where our mileage is less. On long runs, the solitude, the peace and tranquillity is for a longer duration and even though I am passing by runners all the time and saying hi! or waving at them, yet, there is a deep sense of being all alone with myself and completely in control of myself. It is here that I truly realise the meaning of ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my ship’.
The Social Aspect of Running:
The other thing that I love about running is the socialising. Since I started running suddenly I have so many new friends whom I would not have met and befriended, but for running. After a certain number of years in life it becomes rather difficult to make new friends with the same temperament and tastes as you and it becomes even harder to maintain those friendships once they are formed due to various reasons. Unless we have a certain common platform, activity or occasions where we meet regularly, you cannot develop the depth of the friendship. But in running, friendships get formed instantaneously for no rhyme or reason. The beauty of running is that you are not tied down to running with the same person every day. Because once again I repeat the phrase, once you are out on the trial, whoever you come across becomes your friend. If you are running at the same pace, then it is inevitable that either you say ‘hi’ or the other person says ‘hey’ and then the conversation begins with ‘how much are you running today?’, ‘since when are you running?’. The panting and the puffing does not give much of a scope for a prolonged conversation, but even a nod of the head or a wave of the hand, if we have the energy left to wave, is enough to develop a ‘runner’s-bond’. Runners are the most sorted-out people. They have no hang ups and are easy on each other.
Runners, I have come to realise, are a different breed altogether. When you are a runner there is no room for pretences, falseness or deceptions. Because hey! you cannot lie about your running. It is out there for all to see. And each person’s running is their own that no one can take that away from you. You are as fast as your body allows you to be. You cannot put some artificial fertiliser to speed yourself up or some catalyst to get better time. Even that will not help you much. So, at the end of the day, because you are your true self the friendships are also easy. It becomes easy to work together.
The Fabled Runner’s High:
What is Runner’s High? Is there really something called Runner’s High? I don’t know what it is. But what I do know is that at the end of the run I experience a deep sense of having done something. I have accomplished something. I have worked for something to the best of my abilities and have earned what I worked for and what I deserved. This sense of fulfilment and achievement leaves me with a deep sense of good feeling and well being and for those few hours I am with a sense of peace with myself and peace with all those around me and at peace with the world at large. This must be the runner’s high because I have not experienced anything like this when I am actually running. So I have come to the conclusion that maybe for me it happens after I complete the run. There is a lot of science jargon involved in this which I shall desist from using. Suffice to say that those few minutes of euphoria is enough to make anyone run.
I do not drink beer and hence cannot vouch for many runners who say that beer tastes better after a run. But I have noticed that the coffee or tea that we drink or the food that we eat tastes better after a long and tiring run. Your body is so exhausted and full of endorphins that all the sensations are heightened and all the experiences are more profound during those few minutes after the completion of a run. You feel elated and on top of the world. This is the reason why millions all across the world have taken to running and continue running despite all the pressures in their lives and despite injuries and many other reasons that there might be for not running.