There's a certain tidiness that comes with running. Most of the time there are a clearly defined number of miles or a finite time period associated with each run. There may be ambiguity and uncertainty between the beginning and end, but there's always closure at the end.
I can enumerate countless reasons why I run, but I've recently realized the sense of closure associated with completing a run always resonates for me. It's a closure that unfortunately you just can't get in too many other areas of life as there are countless unsolved mysteries. Robert Stack can attest.
There are people no longer in our lives for reasons we can't fully understand. Maybe additional reflection and the acquisition of wisdom down the road will illuminate for us later why this is so. Maybe it doesn't really matter why they're not there anymore, but the generally obsessive-compulsive mind of a runner frequently seeks to know 'why'.
There are some injuries that don't fully heal. I like the idea that time heals all wounds and generally can get behind this sentiment, but certain injuries never fully heal. There are some that heal in such a way that you're almost always reminded of the initial trauma. It doesn't necessarily mean you're always in pain, but pain isn't too far from the surface. I don't know anyone who doesn't have an injury like this and if you don't be thankful.
There are things we can't say. Coming from someone who often errs on the side of saying too much, it's odd to read a statement like that, but it's true. Whether it's things we can't say to a parent, a loved one, or a vague acquaintance, there are certain things we just can't communicate. Like certain muscles that just don't fire when we need them to, there are certain things that just can't be said.
There are regrets. I love the idea of having 'no regrets', but it's not really me. I've always been a bit suspect of anyone who claims they don't have any regrets. I'm all for putting a positive spin on most things in life. I can generally point to ways (big and small) in which I ultimately benefited from a variety of misfortunes.
But, in our most private moments...can we REALLY say there is NOTHING we regret? I am reminded of one of my runners who decided to go full vegan a few days before her race and weathered cataclysmic GI distress in the middle of her race. I suspect she regrets this decision.
At one point or another, all of the aforementioned unsolved mysteries have given me restless nights. In lieu of finding a smoking gun for them , I run. I run because I don't know what else to do...and at least there's little a little bit of closure associated with logging a few on the road.