August 24, 2013


I am a very poor advocate for running.

I have not, to my knowledge, attempted to talk anyone into trying it. Certainly, I have never suggested that anyone run more than they enjoy, that they, in other words, consciously train. Nor have I suggested that they seek out race goals. Doing a 5K does not make you more fit than the person who trains similarly, and yet does not race. And although I love stupid-long distances myself, a marathoner or ultrarunner is no "better" a runner, athlete, or person, for having done earned the title.

I trot along idly every day because it is gratifying to me. It imbues my days with meaning. I train beyond that because I am a competitive person and the answer to my "why?" must invariably be to do more, faster, better. But mostly I do it to visit that headspace which I have found no other path to. I do not pretend that there is cosmic significance to this space; and yet I acknowledge that there can hardly be anything more significant than sustained bliss, available on demand.

But I must acknowledge that there are people for whom this bliss is missing, for whom running is an exercise in self-flagellation. I must acknowledge the truth of their sentiment, and the viability of it. When they tell me that they hate running, that it does nothing for them, that they'd rather lift weights, do yoga, garden, whatever, I simply say that it's cool, because it is.

I don't care about running except as a means to multiple ends that I value. I care about goals, and the pursuit thereof. I care about fitness, and health. I care about bliss, happiness, peace and sanity. I care about those things and running is the tool that provides me with them.

But don't use a tool that doesn't work for you. If it sucks, it sucks. If you hate it, you hate it. I'm not going to tell you you're wrong, or that you should persist anyway. Because you shouldn't. Really.

Is that poor advocacy? I said so at the beginning of this, but I really think it's simply honest advocacy. I'm not selling anything, and I have no reason to bullshit.

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