I Run Because I Can
A few months ago, I got a haircut from my mom’s stylist in rural Wisconsin (who definitely gave fancy SF stylists a run for their money, btw). Rather than fashion magazine clips or shiny mirrors, his studio walls were dotted with race photos and medals. I loved this first, because he was proud and passionate wanted to share that; and second, because it gave me a softball topic to talk to him about, eliminating the awkward “so, what did you do this weekend?” banter I dread when someone new cuts my hair. When I told him I was a runner too, his first question was why. I fumbled through a bunch of reasons and then flipped the question back to him. His answer was elegant and simple and awesome: “I run because I can.” He went on to tell me that for a number of years in his twenties, a back issue prevented him from running. It even made walking difficult. So now that he’s able to run again, his joy comes from simply being able to do it.
I loved this, and I channel it when I get into my own self-criticism (I’m too tired, too slow, too weak, etc). Grounding every run in the sheer brilliance and amazement of being able to put one foot in front of the other amidst beautiful, safe surroundings helps the self-doubt go away. So for what is worth, I have a new answer when people ask me why I run. Here it is:
If you run, or if you knit or dance or write or cook…why do you do it? What keeps you coming back for more?