Am I addicted?
I love this! The beauty of writing on my own website is that if you are offended by what I write… well its your fault for reading it, you can click off of this page at anytime 🙂 At the same time, many of you are aware, my intent is never to offend; rather, I only wish to motivate!
So here we go…
People say I must be addicted and say that endurance running is too extreme form of exercise. I say I would rather be addicted to something that betters my physical health. Then people respond… “well I heard that it is actually bad for your health.” I say… yeah who did you hear that from… the inner workings of your brain that prefer no exercise and expect results? It is important to turn to research for some answers. By the way, I do not base all my beliefs and knowledge on research for it does not address the noological (spiritual) matters; however, research has its place in this world… a big place! Research has TRIED to show that endurance running is bad for people both physically and physiologically… the research has failed in these endeavors. People also say…”what about the people who die running?” Chances are slim to none that you will die running… the epidemiological research shows that those who have died running have had abnormal heart conditions. People also say… ” you are going to feel it when you are older and have bad joints/bones problems as you age.” Really??? Hmmm the majority of endurance runners are not young guns… in fact, I am usually one of the younger runners at an ultra marathon. I ran this year with a man in his late 70’s, he seemed to be doing just fine!!! Therefore, those who say that running is actually bad for your health…. I say let go of your lazy thinking!!! 🙂
All too often I hear that endurance running is too extreme and takes so much time. I would agree that it takes time, but ultra runners typically are good at finding balance between all of life’s responsibilities. Many of you know that I usually get my runs in before the family awakes, specifically my long runs. I run no more than 5 races per year, which the races are the parts that take the most time away, but I involve my family in the race process. I make sure that someone is helping with my kiddos so my wife is not overwhelmed. My family members/friends help as my crew and pacers. This allows everyone to feel some of the accomplishment when we complete a race. Now, I am not going to specifically call out hobbies that do not allow you to involve family, but I think we all could easily identify hobbies that take tons of time and pull away from the family/jobs and all other responsibilities. The big difference is this…. People are often reluctant, or ashamed, to track their hours spent watching TV, or their hours out hunting, the hours playing video games, or whatever it may be. In contrast, runners log their hours and strategically plan how much time they will run each week; thus, it is easily visible the time put into running because it is talked about with friends and family….. This makes it seem sooo extreme, when it is hardly such! I say all of this with the recognition that endurance running does take time… I am simply offering some perspective!!!
How can you say I am too extreme when I walk away from every run wanting to be a better person, a better father, husband, worker, etc…? I have great spiritual moments as I run through the mountains in silence. Many of my runs are done with a running partner, sometimes this is a good friend, new friend, or family member ( usually my sister). While running with others bonding moments are created. As discussed in Born to Run, many of the people will run with others to strengthen their trust and relationships. You do build a special friendship with other runners. My sister and I have a combined 7 children… we get very little time to sit back and chat… so we run and chat… we get back before anyone else is up and at em. I also learn a great deal from the conversations with other runners.
People sometimes say well you could be spending the time you spend on running doing other things… I have to laugh at this one. I am sorry but I work my butt off and running is a great release for me… a coping skill for the work I do. I am a husband, father, finishing my doctorate, working in private practice, a therapist, and working in my church. What else do you want me to do? Play nintendo… do I need to do more of that to be considered normal 🙂 If so, count me out!!!! Furthermore, while running races I like to raise money for certain organizations… this year is for Huntsman Cancer Foundation, so I am doing something productive!
My children see that Shayna and I are active so naturally they are active. They can participate in whatever sport activities they wish…. However, when I tell them they need to get outside and play… they will not just have parents telling them, they will have parents joining with them!
In conclusion, if this is my addiction then let me be addicted!!!! However, running should never take precedence over my family and church, and maybe work :). At this point in time, it only helps me improve my ability to function in my roles!