People ask what motivates me to run. Consider this story from today:
I’ve been saving this Cliff Bar for a special day. Last December, I went to an REI sale with my friend Tami (and a fellow runner, I may add, as she did her first marathon recently!). She was looking to pick up clothes for a trip to South America, and I was cruising around behind her for the company. And there, in the checkout aisle, were flavors of those sumptuous Cliffs that I had never seen. Due to a limited budget, I had to make like Indiana Jones at the climax of his last crusade and choose wisely. As a maple fanatic so dedicated to the cause that I want to bicycle across the country to Vermont just to watch syrup being made, this bar has withstood months of sitting in a cupboard, sitting in a moving box, a trek down the coast of California, and sitting in another, hotter cupboard just for this very day.
No, it’s not my bat mitzvah, my birthday, or even Talk Like a Pirate Day. Today is special because I feel clichely, as though I am prancing through the air, unable to come close to the ground below for no reason whatsoever. I feel amazing today, recharged and rejuvenated, and there are very few conclusions I can come to as why.
But better than simply doing mundane tasks while feeling great without cause is going for a run while full of a joy for life. A run makes a bad day at least mediocre, a decent day at least good, a good day at least great, and a great day at least out and out euphoric. I just returned from a run in 90-degree weather in which I ran faster and lighter than I have in months. I sincerely felt like I should be in one of those inspiring pictures in Runner’s World or a New Balance ad, where there is some hard-core looking ladybird powering up a 8% grade hill. It is as though someone has implanted a catheter in me, and is pouring dose after dose of passion, imagination, energy and love of life straight into my soul.
I feel like everything might be okay. It might not, but it also just might be.
This feeling, this sense of urgency and acceptance and wings, was not my initial motivation for running. I think in part, I simply first needed to accomplish something. Then, as my friend Pablo pointed out over gyros in San Francisco, I needed to prove I was strong. But now, the hope that I might be able to take a simple day and turn it into a spectacular day just by breathing fresh air, listening to my heartbeat, and proving I am alive gets me out the door. This maple Cliff Bar (which I have been slowly gnawing on to enjoy every ounce of because it seriously tastes like pancakes in nutrition bar form) has been waiting almost a year for today. And here today is.
Simply put, I run because it not only affirms my life, it ensures that I can affirm that I live.