"Don't you think it's strange," asked Running Buddy as we were finishing up a 5 mile loop over lunch, "that there are people out there who have never run a whole mile in their life?"
I do think it's strange. But probably, because running is such a major factor of the way I spend my time, particularly now being 8 weeks out from a marathon. I mean, I'm sure its weird to swimmers that there are people who have never swam a mile, but I very well may be one of those people.
Anyway, there are a lot of reasons for running.
And because I like to eat, and drink beer, and my roommate just bought an ice cream maker, exercise will never be an optional part of my life. It doesn't have to running I guess - it's just that running is the only thing that has stuck.
See, the secret to running, is that it doesn't feel good until after those first 3 miles.
Miles 1-3 suck. Almost always. It's like you have to remember how to run all over again. You feel kind of stiff, kind of disjointed, and all the parts of your body are working against one another. Why is it so hard to put one foot in front of the other, and what are you supposed to be doing with your arms?
But, then. Then, you hit mile 4, and suddenly you're warmed up, everything snaps into place, and you stop having to think about it, because you were born to do this.
And then running is fun.
And yea, a lot of that has to do with pleasure center endorphins flooding your body. I mean, we wouldn't run this far if it didn't feel good. But more than that, you have these moments when you hit your stride, and you are so focused on what's happening right now that you are totally present. And suddenly, for a few seconds at least, you know that you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing, and you understand the universe and your place in it.
I don't meditate, but I think the goal there is something similar, no?
Anyway it doesn't happen every time, or even on every long-run, and I have yet to discover a recipe of distance, music, weather, or terrain to make it happen. But is it ever worth it, to get out of bed for a couple of hours on the weekend just to try and reach that feeling.
That is why I run.
So while I feel kinda sorry for those who have never run a mile in their life, maybe they've found something else that gets them there. I feel more sorry for the people who run, but never go more than 3 miles, because they don't even know what they are missing.