I just finished Dean Karnezes' "Ultra Marathon Man, Confessions of An All Night Runner". I'm sick. I have always struggled with the idea that running seems so self indulgent. We run to improve our own bodies, pace, performance. We run to clear the mind. We run for the solitude, a brief time away from responsibilities. Runners talk about their knees, hips, and shoulders - where's the world peace, fight for hunger, or cure for a disease? Karno, (as Dean's close friends call him) ran to save lives - Libby Wood for one. He also ran to save his own and his family's after the tragic death of his sister. When I stop self-flogging for a moment, it occurrs to me that we all maybe doing a little bit of 'good for the world' even if we don't know it. Maybe the you, you, you after a ball's out run is a better product for the planet and in fact our running is quite good for everyone.
I'm nicer after a run. I am more clear-headed and sharp. I make better decisions because the nagging guilt of not having run yet is not crawling all over me. My conversations during long group runs are quite meaningful. All that said. I need more.
I know there is a lot of opportunity to partner with a cause and make more out of running. Team in Training, Relay for Life, and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to name a few. Most big races have a signature charity that benefits from proceeds. I'm starting to feel better. BUT I still want more. I am selfishly training for the Richmond Marathon without a cause in mind. It occurs to me we can approach each run with some intention if that's our gig. Do it for the babies, do it for the old people, do it for the homeless, do it for (gag) YOU. That's quite enough. Did I just say that? Gotta go - not to cure cancer or finish my novel or teach the underpriviledged in Uganda. I gotta run. Maybe afterwards I can do all those things. Why do you do it?