“The ending changes everything that came before it.” -Edan Lepucki, If You’re Not Yet Like Me
I’m guessing Ms. Lepucki’s quote is in relation to something much more life-affirming or thought-provoking or deeply personal than running, but when my friend Danny posted this as his status on Facebook this morning (yes, Runner’s Delight does read status updates on Facebook and ponders them—don’t judge), the first thing I thought about was running.
Finishing a run rarely actually feels like anything has altered within me. In that sense, running defies Lepucki’s observation about endings. Running can be stasis enough that its end feels no different than its beginning. At the same time, if I were to suddenly finish a run and have it be my final run, Lepucki would be correct. That sort of end would change everything came before, if only because everything that came before is instantly not only history, but memories that will not be built upon from here on out. Those memories would be space-holders for who I used to be, rather than a piece of who I currently am.
Speaking of who I used to be, another quote comes to mind:”All good things must come to a beginning.” It’s funny how you never know what good things are going to be; there is always a starting point, but I rarely can identify that point at the time. Only after something has begun and taken hold and somehow affected me can I really say a good thing began. Running came to a beginning, but I didn’t know if it’d be good or not. I like the notion of focusing on the start rather than on the end. Perhaps we put too much meaning into endings, and instead should enjoy the jumping off point a little more.
I cannot leave this ponderance unbalanced, so to wrap up, perhaps the quote that feels fair towards my relationship to running, (thanks once again to Danny’s Facebook*): “Turned your way and saw, something he was not looking for: both a beginning and an end.” I know that running forever isn’t likely. But I can only hope that if or when running does end for me, I can take with me what I learned as I began to run. Perseverance. Dedication. Relaxation. Commitment. Community. Hope. Motivation. And perhaps with those frimly entrenched in my bag of tricks, I can push them towards whatever comes next. The end of running could be the beginning of something else.
For now, I’m not planning on leaving running anytime soon (and certainly not without a fight if an outside force tries to take me down).
*Wow. Is it happy or sad that social media is busy inspiring me? Making me think?