Why I run

I have so many reasons why I run or jog. In middle school I liked track and field at school, but it wasn’t an organized sport. So I tried football for a couple years, finishing that up my freshman year of high school. This was the mid-1970’s and whenever we were running laps for conditioning or punishment, although some guys hated it, I enjoyed it.

I became enthralled with the 1976 summer Olympics and went for the Cross Country team. In those days, Cross Country was typically a 3 mile event preferably off road. It wasn’t until many years later that people were calling it a 5K. I was never a leader, but I persevered.

During that time the principle of aerobic exercise was hitting the bookshelves with hits from Colonel Kenneth Cooper and Jim Fixx.

At the time, just running was all there was to it, at least for our Cross Country team. And well meaning as our coaching staff was, they were more basketball and football coaches, so the idea of conditioning for runners was a little foreign to them. We performed as we did primarily because of natural ability and through our own personal training.

When I left high school, I joined the Navy and truly over prepared physically for boot camp. Even though I was scrawny as a rail and 165 pounds soaking wet at six foot tall, I was doing a more than a hundred push ups a day, working on my brothers weights and running on my own regularly.

Why? Because it was always something I could do with little effort that allowed me to mentally reset. It would take me away from the tv, work, school, military training or whatever. It gave me a great sense of well being.

Thirty five years later, I found myself struggling to run at all for more than a few sessions without some pain, discomfort or condition holding me back. I was still measuring myself with the runs of my past, which compounded my disappointment. But I didn’t stop.

Every few weeks or months, after my last issue was resolved, I’d start all over again. And my inability led to frustration and frankly I had an internal downward spiral. Which was a trigger for more habitual drinking.

But here we are, just past a year sober. I started jogging again in earnest about six months into my sobriety. My guts aren’t acting up. I’m sober enough continuously to be mindful of my posture and core strength, which I determined was a major aggravation to multiple issues with not just pain and discomfort, but the foundation of my running mechanics.

I’ve already completed a 5k a month for the past six months. I’m not breaking land speed records, but I’m persevering and it makes me feel good.

I try to train four to six times a week, with calisthenics, yoga for back flexibility, intervals and variations on runs. And the ability to do it provides me with a fantastic ability to reset all over again. Like a miniature vacation without the expense.

Isn’t that what really matters?


Author: 21Buzzards

Retired military reservist and corporate helping parent a grandchild. Sharing my evolution as age and priorities impact life.

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