Thursday, 27 January 2011

why do i do it...

...oh, all the clever slick answers you could write to a question like that.

But, lets face it, you know and I know they're all bollocks!  I started running in an attempt to get a bit fitter and lose, or at least mitigate, the effect of a few too many beers. When I say started running meant a couple of miles infrequently weeks or even months apart.  No don't judge me, you know where I'm coming from don't you!

Initially, too many beers and general laziness coupled with a desire to not not want to shirk trips to the park with the kids and being their all-active-dad was the driving force.  But, there's always been this nagging desire to run a marathon...

...and lets face it that's a big uplift from a couple of miles between pints, but it's always been something I've wanted to do.  Perhaps unspokenly to the greater group for fear of sniggering, but a desire/ambition/dream none the less. Why did I never do it?  Other than often just talking a good game, its an awfully long way!

And yes the distance is never going to get any shorter, but watching my first Brighton Marathon, in what is now my home city, from the sidelines gave me that strange boost and desire to actually do something rather than just blah blah blah..., now I'm up to a 17-miler and we're only 9 weeks away from my marathon debut and I'm sitting in the dark with a beer (notice the old unforgotten theme) blogging about running to nobody, but with the hope that someone out there knows what I'm talking about and cares (actually I just added those last few words for effect, or is it affect? I'm never sure).

Back to the story then, watching the marathon I was struck my how much fun it seemed (yes, you can remind me of that comment on 11th April) and the terribly condescending and patronising thought of "if you can do it so can I", except I'm not doing it am I.  Instead I'm 37 not in great shape and not doing a great deal.  One could say it was just the kick up the arse that I needed.  I've been plugging away solidly, not at a pace that anyone should fear, and am hungry for that first marathon scalp, but I am going to do it, and perhaps most importantly I believe I can do it.

I have no delusions of grandeur, a steady 10min mile and a finish time within 4hrs 30mins would have me very happy indeed, but now even with my lack of pace I'm in a place where I hunger to go for a run, I want, no need, to go out and run, it helps banish the fears and stress of normal life, I don't think, I just run.  I know that might seem trite and probably has far to many commas to be grammatically correct, but I don't think about much at all most of the time, I just run, not very fast I grant you, but run just the same and spend most of my time thinking about nothing and just enjoying the sense of running.

I want to run.

I know some of you will hate me for writing this, but it makes me feel free.

I've unlocked something within me that I like and enjoy, and a feeling that no matter how slow I might be over 10km, half-marathon or full marathon at 37, if I keep running I can only get faster. Perhaps only in small increments, but it will still be faster. I will push myself and ultimately succeed.

It's not about winning or how far and fast you go, it's about pushing yourself and desiring to be better.  As Erin Leonard said, "People ask why I run. I say, "If you have to ask, you will never understand". It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels".

Why does it feel good, because you know.  You know it was all worth it, you are pushing yourself, getting better and loving every high and low in-between.


  1. I pretty much started for the same reasons and it really took hold, partly because I've put so much time into it and I want to justify my decision but mostly cause, like you said, the overall feeling when it all comes together is one most sane people would want to replicate!

    And you don't need to worry about your pace it's all relative and many sub 2:10 marathoners will tell you that when they ran their first sub 3 it was a feeling better or comparable!

    By the way you use "affect" to great "effect" Stephen.

  2. Thanks Scott. One of the things I love about running is the only person I'm competing with is me. As you said pace is relative and part of the fun of running is seeing those little improvements in yourself and pushing yourself to go a little further and a little faster next time.