Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Run - Further Introspection

I can never truly outrun The Voices, my inner demons that keep me on the edge of the abyss.  What I find is that I do need to outrun The Voices.  Running for me is like a dance where The Voices are a reluctant partner.

In the dark of night or lonesome moments The Voices sing out like a multitude of angles on high - though their hymns are neither joyful nor uplifting.  Each verse is an attack on my heart, my soul, my very reasons for being.  The refrain hammers home my frailty and weakness.

Running is my time to take the lead in this dance.  I hire the band.  I pick the set-list.  I chose the dance steps and drag The Voices around the dance floor.  I know that so long as I am moving about the dance floor The Voices cannot keep time.  They cannot shout me down.  They cannot shuffle their feet in time with the rhythm of the movement.  The Voices stumble.  I create separation.

Oh they try to bog me down and play the usual mind games.

Rather than listen to The Voices I focus on the sound of my lungs and searing of each breath.

Rather than suffers the raining blows of my eternal enemies I revel in the pounding of my heart against my chest.

Rather than dwell on how The Voices assault and claw at the fabric of my soul I feel muscle, tendon, and ligament pull and stretch and twist as I churn down the path...

Forever forward.

I am not running away.  I am running with...

Till The Voices tire and fall away and retreat to their own quiet spot to rest, I run.  Then after I am finished there is a respite - a ceasefire, a momentary peace.  The purpose for a training plan is not to prepare for a particular event but to get my ass (and my head) back out on the road before The Voices have a chance to awaken from their slumber; before they have opportunity to regroup and refortify.

I do not run to run away.  I run to keep The Voices at bay.

I run to be stronger than anything that aims to defeat me.  I run to be stronger than Me.

Running For Life

One complaint people have about running is that the act of running is boring.  It is so boring that some people refuse to run or shudder at the very thought of running without music or some other auditory distraction.

At some point I made a conscious decision to drop the ear buds and embrace the mental chatter.  Whether I am out for a brisk three miler or slogging through several hours on my feet, my greatest pleasure in running is wrestling with some issue and arriving at a resolution.  Not all runs are great and not all resolutions work; however, the push to be better physically and mentally is worth whatever hurdles are encountered along the way.

On numerous occasions I lack sufficient motivation to push myself and struggle to maintain consistent effort.  Then I happen upon a person that is battling with their own demons or physical illness.  It has been a while but dedication runs have been a great motivator for focused running.  They may be low key and easy; a way to meditate on healing or peace for the person in question.  Or, I may run like a bat out of hell, pouring all my energy into the run knowing that the subject of the dedication is not able to do so.

Since the end of October I have struggled to get back in a groove with regards to running.  Many days I feel listless or else I make easy excuses to head out later.  Unfortunately later is usually after a space of two or three days.

Rather than dedicating a single workout for some individual or cause, I have decided to dedicate an entire training cycle to a single cause.  On Saturday, May 5th I will participate in 2012 Relay For Life of Georgetown, SC.  My personal goal is to run as much as possible and walk as necessary so that I may remain in motion from Noon till Midnight.

Relay For Life is a cancer charity.  I will run for three grandparents taken by cancer, as well as various aunts and uncles who did not survive their diagnoses.  I will run for my father and two of my wife's uncles who have successfully overcome prostate cancer.  I will run for my father-in-law who is only weeks into post-operative recovery for prostate cancer.  I will also from for the OB-GYN that delivered my youngest daughter ten years ago this April.  She lost her fight with cancer.

This is a very personal issue for me.

Fundraising is a component of Relay For Life.  Asking for money is not a natural talent of mine.  Should you feel compelled to contribute I shall be eternally grateful.  I may even send along a little personal gift to express my gratitude.

To up the ante, I shall also pledge to donate one dollar from each #DoEpicShit bracelet I sell between now and May 6th.

What does twelve hours on an asphalt high school track mean with regards to distance?  I expect to complete at minimum two hundred laps, or 50 miles.  If everything comes together well I hope to reach close to 80 miles.

The last few months I have felt detached, disjointed.  On a recent run I found a renewed determination that translated into an excellent eight mile run.  I think that is part of what is fueling my runs.  The push for greater pace/effort is a renewed desire to dedicate to and run for people not able to run for themselves.  I do this because they cannot.  It is scary how hard I am able to push myself; and yet some of these efforts seems so easy in the moment.  A dedication run ceases to be a trainer or merely another daily task to check of the list.  The run assumes a life of its own.  Much like The Relay for life.

It is one of the many reasons I run.

For those not gifted with an ability to read between the lines this is a call for money.  Click either link to donate directly to Relay For LIfe or to purchase a wristband.  Do it.