January 24th 2017
Today I ran to force myself to feel something. I ran 14 kilometres – which is like, almost 10 miles in English. I ran 8.5 kilometres in my lunch break, and I ran 5.5 kilometres at football this evening. I ran 7 kilometres yesterday which puts me above 20 kilometres for the week and it’s not even Wednesday yet, and this is after a two week flu-based break. And it’s still not enough.
My sister has recently got into running, and I got a message from her on Sunday morning saying “7.5km done before 10am it’s freezing I don’t know why I bother” and to some extent I agree with her. Why do I bother?
I’m six foot tall and have never weighed more than 11 stone in my life – I don’t run to lose weight.
I’m by some distance the youngest of all the runners at work, but they’re basically all faster than me – I don’t run for the competition.
I sometimes dread the thought of going out, and I don’t like it when I’m doing it – I don’t run for enjoyment.
The reason that I run is for two very specific feelings that I get. One during a run, and one after it.
During a run there’s a point, whether I’m alone or with a group, where I suddenly become incredibly focused. And during this moment my mind goes completely blank – and that never happens, the way my brain operates is pretty… noisy. There’s always something going on in there. But occasionally during a run there is a moment of clarity, of determination, and of silence.
My speed increases subconsciously, my breathing regulates and my rhythm improves. Because suddenly the only thing that matters in the world is running.
That feeling usually lasts for like three minutes.
If I could bottle that feeling of complete focus and determination and inject it into my veins every time I want to concentrate on something then I’d live my life extremely successful.
In my own projects, the things that I am supposed to be passionate about, my attention span, focus and determination is… lacking. I want to write a chapter of my next novel every night, but if I sit down at my computer to start, I just can’t do it. That clarity only comes when I’m running, and only briefly.
The second feeling kicks in about five minutes after I’ve stopped running, after my heart rate has slowed down and my breathing has regulated. After my muscles have relaxed after the run my entire body aches, but not in a bad way. It’s like a buzz, and it resonates around me. It’s success. It’s accomplishment. It’s tiredness and exhaustion but it’s pride.
I’m not often proud of the things that I do, of the things that I achieve. But after a run it’s like my body gives itself a round of applause, and congratulates itself for finishing. And that’s the other feeling – the all-encompassing sense of satisfaction at achieving something.
These personal projects that I set myself, I rarely finish them. I start with good intentions and lose interest/focus/inspiration. I have three unfinished novels and uncompleted screenplay on a hard drive next to me. But you can’t really not finish a run.
If you run four miles in one direction then the only way you’re getting back home is to turn around and run another four miles. You can’t just give up halfway, because then you’re lost in the middle of a forest and you get eaten by a bear. Somehow. In England.
So that’s why I run. Focus, determination, satisfaction and achievement.
Until tomorrow, silence, and success.