Why do you run?
This is question most runners get because the general population does not understand why we would push our bodies and minds to the absolute breaking point everyday.
Most runners would respond to that question with:
because I want to be fast...
because I want to beat that runner that passed me at the finish line at last week’s meet...
because I want to get a college scholarship...
because I want to win!
These are all great motivating reasons for why you continue to run but they do not answer the ultimate reason of why you break your body and mind day in and day out.
But what happens when you cannot do the things that drive you to run?
What if something is hindering you from running the way you want so that you cannot be fast right now?
What if you do not have the strength to beat that runner that passed you at the finish line?
What if you’re not running the times to get a college scholarship?
And what if you do not win? ... What is your reason for running now?
When all of these reasons are stripped away and you're left helpless in defeat, what draws you to run and continue to love it?
This is a question I’ve wrestled with this cross country season, and I’ve recovered the answer.
After going through this cross country season full of countless doctors visits, tears, and weeks of not being able to run because of a gastrointestinal issue, I was left with the question of “Why do I run?”
My immediate response was just to say, I love it. That has been my answer for years. But in this time of helplessness just saying “because I love it” was not sufficient. I had to think deeper. After I had thought about this question for quite some time, I had recaptured my original reason for running: I run to worship my God, to showcase the heart and drive he has instilled in me, and to give the glory to him.
After rediscovering this reason, I began to feel happy again. It soon felt like all those days missed, all the struggle was just a mere problem and that nothing was going to take me away from doing what I love doing the most.
I had transferred my thinking of “Wow, this year I am not accomplishing anything ... I’m not running the way I want to ... I’m a failure...” to “At this time, I am not able to run what I would like to, but I will come back from this stronger than before with joy in my heart and I will achieve my goals.”
When our reason for running is based off of things we cannot control, we will not always achieve what we wish. So change the reason for running from “because I want to be fast,” to “because I want to do my best,” from “because I want to beat that runner that passed me,” to “because I want to fight for that place that runner took from me last week and I am going to do everything in my power to earn it,” from “because I want to win,” to “because I want to run in a way to win the race no matter the outcome so I can push for that number one spot.”
By focusing on things you can control, you will feel free to do your best, with a reason for running that is based on pure joy and not things you cannot control.
So, good luck this weekend at States! Recover the reason for why you run and use it in your race because I can guarantee that you will run free, with such a joy in your heart that no matter the outcome, you will come away knowing you did your absolute best. I wish you all the best of luck this state meet and I cannot wait to experience it with you!