Monday, June 13, 2011

I run because it's crazy...

People characterize runners as crazy. Not ALL people do. But many do. Stepping outside of myself for a few minutes, I can see why some would say this. Running involves doing the same thing...over and over.....and over and over....and over again. You run, run, run, run, and run again.

Think about anything else done repeatedly like this. If you encountered someone who banged their head against a brick wall repeatedly again and again and again, chances are you'd describe them (at least loosely) as 'crazy'. If you crossed paths with someone who repeatedly jumped over a fence over and over and over again, you'd likely say they were a tad loco.

Ultrarunners anyone? As someone who has never ventured beyond 26.2 miles (which MANY characterize as TOTALLY INSANE..and it totally is), imagine those rare few that go beyond this. I rub shoulders with a few of them now and then and I like all of the ones I've been fortunate enough to meet, but SERIOUSLY....running 50, 75, 100 miles??!?!?! It's CRAZY!

But, reflect on some of the most rewarding experiences you've ever had in your entire life (running or otherwise). Was there not something fundamentally CRAZY (inordinately risky qualifies) about 'some' of these experiences? Were you not throwing caution to the wind a few times?

Looking at myself, it wasn't that long ago that I had a 'relatively' comfortable job, had a 401K, had health insurance, and all the trappings of 'success'. But, I was depressed, I was anxious, and I wasn't me. The thought of who I would be just five years down the road terrified me. I jettisoned it all.....for running.

I jettisoned it to pursue something that people called 'courageous' to my face, but likely 'crazy' behind my back and they weren't far off the mark. Knowing what I know now, I would probably tell my younger, naive self to not make this move and nail down a business plan, think things through more, etc.

I was throwing myself into an abyss of uncertainty with little more than fierce drive and naive, blind optimism. Yeah, it was crazy. But, I'd rather be crazy than depressed and a pale facsimile of the person I could really be. As crazy as it might have been, it was the only road that made sense to me.

The person I've become and what I've built by embracing my 'crazy' is something I would never give up. Some people tell me I have it great...and they're right. That being said, it's never been all sunshine and roses for me.

Innumerable challenges, hardships, misunderstandings, pain, disappointments, and setbacks have been part of the deal. But, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat...and maybe that makes me crazy.

I'm cool with my crazy because it's what spawned something that I will never stop loving and is the closest thing I have to a child (until I actually have one). My crazy has opened doors to things that I don't fully understand. It's fundamentally transformed me into someone I never could have imagined.

I embrace my crazy because without it I simply wouldn't be me. I run because it's crazy.....and so am I.

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