Why I Run #2

This was the turnaround for my run today.  Despite the need to get home, I wanted to keep going forward.  Despite the burning pain in my Achilles tendons, weak from lack of exercise and a new style of shoe, I wanted to keep going forward.

The fact is, if time wasn’t a factor, I would have kept running, exploring a never-ending web of streets and mystery until I got so far away that I collapsed in exhaustion.

Now I know how my infant son feels as he learns to walk.

So instead of going forth into the great beyond, I turned around and blew through a negative split on my way back home.  It’s days like today I wish I was faster, or stronger — anything that would allow me to pack in one more extra mile into the scant time I have to work out.

I’ve been exploring ways to answer the question, “Why do I run?”  Today’s answer: I run to explore the world.

No matter my route, I try and add one new twist — tackling a new street, using the opposite sidewalk, embarking at different times of the day. It’s too easy to do the same thing twice, and there are way too many avenues for exploration to not shake up one’s route as much as possible.

Programming variety into my routine was easier in my old job.  For several years, I was an IT consultant whose job took him on the road five days a week for five straight years. It was also at the beginning of that job where I picked up my running passion.

The job came with several privileges, but the one I enjoyed the most was being assigned to some scenic locations, all of which I was lucky enough to run within.  I would fly in on a Monday morning, then return home on the Thursday red-eye.  And no work week went by without at scheduling a minimum-1-hour run.  Even if it meant I had to make up the hours by working all night, I made sure to explore my each of my temporary homes.

I still get goosebumps thinking about some of those sights.  Getting lost in on woodland trails of Colorado’s Cherry Creek State Park.  Sprinting to the end of the San Francisco municipal pier, stopping to stretch in the bright sunrise, and pausing to watch triathletes train in the same waters as sea lions.  Jogging on along the mosaic sidewalks of downtown Belo Horizonte (“Beautiful Horizon” in Portuguese) each Sunday morning, soaking in the eerie silence resulting from the native population still in chruch.  Running from one side of tiny Waterbury, VT to the other, followed by weekly dreams of settling down in New England.  And the adrenaline rush from dodging angry commuters on Michigan Avenue.

These days, I don’t travel much anymore, so my exploring is mostly limited to my hometown of McKinney, TX.  Although nowhere near as exotic as past locals, McKinney still offers something new to me everyday.  It’ll take me awhile to run all of its streets, especially since the population is booming and they keep adding new ones.  But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.