Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Run?

Running seems to many like such a masochistic chore. A relentlessness which, had they a voice, would cause one's knees to cry out in derision. The exercise makes great fodder for those like wry one-liners: "I only run when being chased."

For others, it's an obsession. A drug. A necessity. I have not run any sort of marathon since the '90s, but over the years I have attempted to consistently hit a trail, to get out there and sweat and achieve the endorphin rush (and lactic acid burn). I'm not a career runner, nor am I obsessed the way an addicted golfer who hits the alarm at 4 A.M. would be. It's basic: cardiovascular fitness. A feeling of well being afterward. It's a great weight loss strategy, too. Over the years, I've yo-yo-ed with my weight. When I use the last belt hole, I find that running is the most efficient way to get back to something resembling fighting trim. These days, I am at another crossroads, a point where my carefree eating (and part-time hobby of sampling different beers) has aggressively caught up.

So I've reacquainted myself with the ankle socks and running shoes, taking advantage of some cooler air recently. When it's too hot to run outside, it's off to the gym (cardio and weights). I listen to very carefully selected music, as keeping the mind engaged makes all the difference in how hard, fast, and long I can go.  But I also use the miles to clear my head, to plan for the week and beyond.  It's very productive time.  Having the right scenery is also helpful.  I'm blessed to live near the Intracoastal Waterway and also within an attractive neighborhood which pleases the eye as I huff through.

Recently, I was chatting with one of the physicians with whom I work. He's a extremely busy guy: sees patients in office, performs surgery, designs software, coaches his sons' little league, is a husband, joins the dawn patrol  to surf, and runs marathons. I inquired as to where he finds the time to run amidst everything else.

"I don't have time not to run. Being fit and well allows me to be at the top of my game for my family and patients."

Probably the best reason to engage in such punishment.

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