I do my best to move everyday.  To do something that wakes the meat of the body and makes my heart beat a little faster.  Running is a favorite of mine.  When I go I keep it very simple – I just grab my keys, lace up my shoes and head out the door.  While I am running I do my best to stay present.  That’s it – my entire process in a nutshell.  But even so, during the run there are still many times I find myself completely lost in thought.  When I realize this, I bring myself back to the moment as swiftly as I can; I look up…

…and find that I am flying.

The pavement is being pulled forward somehow; a grey ribbon of tarmac flowing beneath my body under a sky so blue it almost hurts to look at.  I hear the rhythm of my blood pounding in my ears and feel it pulse at the tips of my fingers.  The world offers up every scent imaginable and I feel the soft song of the wind ripple over my sweating skin.  As the heat gradually builds in my core I relax more and more deeply into that simplest of rhythms: one, two, one, two, left, right, tap, tap…  Somewhere within myself I exist in a silver silent space, balanced on the tightrope that is this moment;  I move smoothly as if on a rail yet I am more and more unbound with each second that passes.  There is no exertion here, just a fierce animal joy in the motion of my body.  It is a beautiful thing to move through the world in this way experiencing the freedom of the arrow: first nocked, then released, and finally bent only to the singular aim of it’s own flight.

I have a theory that we are all conduits for a kind of energy that moves through us into the world and is expressed in thought, word, and action.  I think that, as this happens some of it gets hung up on kinks in our psyche, blocks in our own personal pipelines.  And that this waste product builds up over time, an accumulated detritus that collects in our bodies and spirits like sludge on a river – unless we process it in some way.  Now, it’s just a theory, and to be honest it could be total horseshit.  It’s simply my own way of representing what I feel to be true in my own experience.  But, that said, when I run there is an undeniable sense of dross being sloughed away, piecemeal but consistent, in some kind of mysterious process that takes place at the very center of this motion and heat; in the deep down place, the sweat and hollow of it.  The act of running, then, serves as a kind of purification for me.  A self-induced sweat lodge.  A dance in which the black wall which has risen to tower within is burned away in a necessary periodic incineration of my own collecting darkness.

And even if my theory holds no truth whatsoever, I do know this: no matter how hard it seems before I begin; no matter how far the distance, how long the time, how bad the weather or how broken my body, I cannot recall a single run when I did not return feeling better than when I left.  No matter what the conditions of my life at the time, no matter how good or bad things seem in the moment, moving in this way never fails to elevate me: body, mind, and spirit.

That is why I run.

What is it that you do to feel better?  And what do you think of my theory – Do you think I am right, or completely wrong?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this (or anything else you feel is appropriate to bring up) in the comments section just below.


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62 thoughts on “ The Real Reason I Run… ”

  1. so well written.
    ..its like a blasting feeling of infinity calm at the same time as if you’re outside yourself… for just a second when your mind and thoughts Stop and its just your feet on the ground moving you.
    i loVe that about running…
    it gives you the peak of an endorphin rush .even if just for a second, it comes and feels amazing


  2. A beautiful essay. Not that it’s enough to get me running again, because it isn’t. I feel a little that way when writing, when I forget any objective and the story takes over, feeling like Hansel and Gretel following a trail of candy. If you’re doing something joyful, you don’t need to be doing it for anything.


  3. Long time no read you James, it’s nice to feel your words while I read you.
    But, I have to be honest, when I run, I usually get lost in my thoughts, if not, the feeling of pain and tiredness will stop me. In the other hand, you’re right, that feeling at the end of each run, it makes it worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

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