I love running. Like, I fuckin love running. I know it’s absurd to say this to, first, an audience of one, myself, and then to an audience of primarily running readers (whoever is still out there), but those audiences likely understand what I mean when I say I FUCKING LOVE running. It’s not just the expression and all the presumed and understood emotional associations that go along with it, but rather the context in which this is said. All enthusiastic runners have these repeated moments where the joy of running transcends mere typical happiness, and definitely transcends the assumed difficulties and frustrations of running by non-runners (or obligated runners), and instead comes pouring out of the chemical concoctions of dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, etc, into this uninhibited love of running, this feeling of absolute perfection, this FUCKING LOVE of running. The outpouring comes as some sort of feedback loop where the act of running builds to a point where one feels comfortable, strong, in control…unstoppable, and the chemical mixture feeds into the bloodstream, that maybe finds it’s way to the brain or wherever expressions find their release, and this release seems to reinvigorate the chemical reaction that feeds the expression that feeds the reaction…and so on. The end result is an unbridled FUCKING LOVE OF RUNNING. I honestly can’t say if this makes sense to anyone else, but I feel like everyone that engages in the efforts of distance running long enough knows what I’m talking about. I don’t necessarily think it’s the often cited “runners high” that many new runners hope to experience, but rather something that shows itself over time, that comes with a more dedicated effort to running, that isn’t a season of training to mark the marathon off the bucket list, but something deeper, something inescapable. It comes with the accomplishment of racing, tempered by the failure of missing one’s goals. It comes with the easy striding long runs under beautiful skies and comfortably chilled air, against the dead legged efforts into icy headwinds or under suffocating humidity. It comes through years of ceaseless workouts, no days off, and the crippling fear of losing ability during two sick days or weeks of injury, in contrast to months of depression, a bottomless pit of unmotivation, and a priority shift that seeks balance for a life of sustainable interests. The feeling of I FUCKING LOVE RUNNING comes not just in the moment, but through the experiences of all those ups and downs, the accumulation of every high and low, the emotional spectrum embodied in continuing through it all. It is the ultimate reassurance, felt only in the act, that running is what one does, what one understands, what one can come back to again and again for an experience that is as personal as it is unstoppable. I FUCKING LOVE RUNNING and every genuine attempt to quit is literally a struggle, not to start again, but to keep quitting. Every time I try, all it takes is a conversation, a day of good weather, a glimpse of a beautiful stride, and I’m back in my shoes, on the road, and throwing down, in the flow, sliding down the slippery slope yet again.
AND I FUCKING LOVE IT.