“What are you running from?” is a question that is often posed in jest, but it can be serious. I have run from a few things in my life, at first I ran from gaining weight. Then, I ran away from a heart attack (lowering my cholesterol, etc.) and type 2 diabetes (changing my eating habits, etc.). I’ve already run past my fitness goals. That doesn’t motivate me anymore. And I’ve also realized I could still have a heart attack or get some chronic disease – either through my habits, plain bad luck, or genes. You can’t run very far away from those things.
Now I think of myself as a running enthusiast. It’s a hobby and a pastime.
“What are you running to?” is a question that is near the beginning of Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes’. And that one is a serious question. Right now, I have a time goal (of sorts). But there should also be a balance goal. I still overtrain and over worry. I don’t want to be an “ace-bandaged runner,” which is a person who constantly pushes themselves to (and over) the edge. I want to be an injury-free runner. And I want to start (being injury free) now. I want to undertrain a little for the next few weeks. I want to arrive at the start line 100% healthy and 10% undertrained. That’s what I’m running to.
Why do I run? Haruki Marukami helped me find an answer to this even harder question in “What I talk about when I talk about running.” (These are my words, but he says it much better. I recommend the book.) I run, not to be healthy or live longer, but because I like it. Haruki realizes it is pointless to fill up (run) a leaky bucket (our lives). It seems sometimes the more we put in, the more holes we find. But it is the act of filling that is fulfilling. The point is not to have a full bucket. The point is to pour stuff in… Even if it leaks.