I love to run. And by that, I truly mean that I love the actual act of running. I love the feeling of using my body for the very thing it seems designed to do. I love to trail run the most, though I still log most of my miles on the streets of my town. I usually run not just to run, but also as an unwinding. I am wound up until I get to run, then I am unwound. I process events and ideas and concepts and relationships better during and after a run.
Many runners get into the activity for different reasons, and I likely came to running following a different path. As a young student, a coach I had in elementary school sent home slips of paper each day after PE. I would come home with slips of paper that read “Travis ran ¼ mile today”. After a few weeks, the papers read higher and higher numbers. Inside the classroom, I feel like it settled me down. The more I ran, the less I bounced. And the less I got into trouble. I ran fast enough and far enough each day to get involved on a Junior Olympic track team. This lead me to a near lifelong affair with competitive running. But just like my beginning in running, I have returned to my roots as a person who just runs because it makes me feel good.
Don’t get me wrong, I can still move for an old guy. Now that my kids are moving into school sponsored cross country and track, I have begun to really enjoy running with my own children. My daughter keeps thinking she is faster than Dad. And Dad keeps easing that bar ever higher. I hope one day she can beat me. That will save me a ton of money in college tuition. But what I really, truly want is for my kids to fall in love with running. And not even with like PR’s and awards and trophies and KOM’s and scholarships. But with the act of running.
You see, for me, the act of running is like an act of worship. It’s like my piano concierto or my beautiful painting or my feat of engineering. I can’t hold it in my hand, but I know in my heart that this is the closest I will feel to being a talented, gifted artist. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I am not musically gifted. I am average intelligence. I don’t paint well. But when I run, I feel like I am at one with nature, doing the natural thing that I have done for generations and generations. I like to think of Jesus and his disciples as a band of runners who travelled from town to town spreading the love of God. And they probably did. Running was far more important than we realize in biblical times, and not just as an Olympic sport. Running was a part of the daily lifestyle.
I run for free, I run to be free, and I run because I am free. And freely do I run, and when I do, i feel connected and alive. More than I do any other time. It’s not that I haven’t tried. It’s not that I haven’t left running multiple times, only to come back to it each and every time. I want to connect in other ways the way I do when I run, but I keep getting sent back to the beginning for a new ending. May you find the thing that connects you the way running connects me. Happy running!