Running & Discovering
Running & Discovering
by Patrick Reed
“Out on the roads, there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.” -George Sheehan
Even at midnight, when I finally step onto the street, exhausted from the day’s chores, I am effortless. Even though I have been all afternoon shunning the day’s run, fearing its discomfort and worrying about the weather, somehow at the first foot strike, I am home. In stepping away from my doorstep, it is as if I were crossing a comfortable threshold, home again at last. A daily homecoming – that is running to me. And home is simple and elegant and easy. The run is won and finished as it had started. I begin and end at one and the same place. And with each training run, with each homecoming, I learn deeper still about myself. I delve step by step into my because…
Yes, running is routine discovery. It is a consistent bet; an ever-successful gamble. The starting line is chalked taut, and marks the beginning of me – and demarcates the end of my potential, if there could be such a measure. In the evening’s run – or the sun-struck morning’s or the afternoon’s long sun-line’s – my ability is known anew again and again. I discover and rediscover my limits.
I remember race-day 3 years ago. I was bonking in the middle of a mountain marathon. Though the first 13 uphill miles had proved effortless, upon cresting the highest pass at the halfway mark, I began to falter. Things were well at first as I began the second half of the marathon, on the extreme downhill. But as the course evened out, flat-lined, and then rollicked and waved — up and down in long pastoral sweeps — my legs and heart and head began to give. Soon I was out of energy, and time stopped on the course. I was at once the beaten runner walking and the watching spectator competing, urging on the dying soldier. I had hit my limits, and yet the crowd – and my innermost self (the one I was discovering) – called out for me to find a deeper me.
This is the bliss of the race and the daily run. When the athlete sees as if looking in – and perceives more about himself than he had known or could know in rounding his daily chores. Out on the bevelled streets, at late evening or silhouetted by earliest light, the runner looks for and finds himself. Once again, Dr. Sheehan had it right:)
Run on. Run long.
“Don’t give up on the impossible before you try it.” -Biggie Munn
“Recognize your victories.” -Joan Benoit Samuelson
“Self-trust is the essence of heroism.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” -Susan Jeffers
“Winning isn’t everything. Wanting to is.” -Catfish Hunter
“In order to succeed, we must first believe we can.” -Nikos Kazanzakis
“Don’t be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams.” -Unknown
image credit: pilotingpaperairplanes.com
Nice piece. Inspirational and your timing is perfect. I am fully anticipating this moment of self-discovery in a couple of weeks, and I hope I like what I find.
Thanks for your encouraging comments. Good luck in that upcoming race! ~Patrick
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This is one of my favorites pieces on running I have ever read. Printing this and keeping so I can read it again and again.
I am humbled and gratified by your words. Thank you! ~Patrick
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I love reading your blog! It inspires me to run more!
Awesome! And I am inspired to run more – and to write more – thanks to your encouraging words. Best! ~Patrick