The Passionate Runner
The Passionate Runner
by Patrick Reed
Why do some of us pound the pavement and waltz the trails first thing in the morning or at the first moment’s free time, while others languish in front of the TV or computer or upon the pillow – desperately unable to stir themselves to run? Why are some ever-motivated to run and others distracted, even dejected, at the mere idea of a semi-swift saunter?
Perhaps, it is an element of passion which distinguishes between these two extremes. Maybe, the habitual runner has a passionate disposition. Or is it possible that this passion to run is within each of us and can be ignited, nurtured and grown?
“It is an element of passion which distinguishes between these two extremes…”
I have wavered in my passion for running over the years. At first, I loved to run for its novelty. When I tasted victory, the desire for more first finishes fueled my training. It was a cycle of success. Soon, though, the pressures of a compulsion to win began to drown the initial elixir of the sport. I came to dread my workouts and fear raceday. It all came to a head in my first collegiate race. My coach had been quite pleased with my training and pre-season workouts and promised me success in our first meet. I, however, choked under the pressure. And so began my long bow out of competitive running at the college level. I lost the fire because the sport was no longer play. It had reversed itself — at my own hand — and my love turned sour.
“But now I love to run long.”
So what happened years later, even after a half a decade of huge training miles and strong marathon finishes? During those years, I was still smarting from that agony I had adopted during my freshman year. Yet, after all of the dust had settled and my pr’s were recorded, I rediscovered the sport. Ultimately — and to this day — that rediscovery most perfectly played itself out for me in the form of ultra-distance races. I would never have guessed this would be the case. But now I love to run long. I dream of the morning — maybe this Friday — when I can eek out 4 hours of me-time, can strap on my sleek Salomon backpack lightly packed with a few power gels and maybe a Luna bar, and I can hit the mountains. The mountains which I can see out the multiple windows on the back of my house.
“In those mountains, with their steep ruts and narrow tunnels of overgrown trees and brush, I can escape into simple survival mode.”
In those mountains, with their steep ruts and narrow tunnels of overgrown trees and brush, I can escape into simple survival mode. A gentle pace I will run, coursing up and through and beyond… over the distant ridge, pushing diagonally up a sharp embankment, and then descending a long valley – horses pulling grass and looking up unsurprised at me who’s passing for the third time on this mountain course…
“As I run, I aim to be my best – to race with dignity and fullness of my potential. And every step along connects me back to those first naive, innocent steps before I knew what losing was.”
I have indeed found again my passion for running. And though it has little to do with competition and winning, it is not altogether removed from that drive towards success. As I run, I aim to be my best – to race with dignity and fullness of my potential. And every step along connects me back to those first naive, innocent steps before I knew what losing was.
I believe that we all have the capacity to be the passionate runner. It is written into the DNA of our humanity. I believe it is the stuff of the eternity which, we are told and we know, is written on our hearts. If you find yourself unable to budge from the couch, discouraged at the thought of the first step… then try to think back to a day when you hadn’t yet lost. Hadn’t yet reacted to the sour pain of being pushed away, of not measuring up. Now, you only need measure up to your truest self. The self wrought by eternity’s hand – and the self which can … get up … and walk … and RUN!
image credit: runnersedge
If you liked this post, you will love Day #23: Patience. Check it out!