I attended UC Santa Barbara, an institution known as one of the elite partying schools. So, it's fair to say I like having a good time. I worked hard, but I played pretty hard as well.
My definition of 'partying' has changed a bit since college and not just because I am not quite as young and spry as I was back then. My definition of partying today involves a lot more running than it once did.
After three months of running, my group training programs typically culminate with the conquering of 13.1 miles. While I position it as a 'celebration' of all the hard work my runners have done, I don't know how many of them view it this way.
I'd generally characterize a great party as one that includes great friends, ample laughter, and possibly some ridiculous behavior. Yes, there is usually alcohol involved as well.
Running a half marathon certainly qualifies as ridiculous behavior. More often than not, tons of great friends are out on the course (or passionately spectating nearby). Laughter may not be as ample during a half marathon as it is at a house party, but there is rarely a shortage of smiles.
Admittedly, this is a party that is typically alcohol free (although
informal 'beer stops' are often part of most races), but there's no
shortage of intoxication to go around.
It's an intoxication borne of the runner's high and when you get thousands of people together all of whom are 'high', it makes for a bit more than just a party.
There's an energy and sense of connectedness that is palpable every step of the way. It's a blowout, a soiree, a love-in, a group hug, and a powerful affirmation of life.
Sometimes, I'm lucky and get to experience three hours of partying. But, the party always goes by too quickly for me. The finish line always arrives too soon.
I savor every stride, every smile, and every second because there's no promise this will happen again.
So, I run because I like to party (and I am a party animal)...