Why Do I Run?

A friend gave me this poem framed for Christmas, I quite like it

Why Do I Run?
Those who don’t can’t understnd the pain is real every day
Is it easier now? Not really.
The same pain I felt the first day I began.
Only easier now to cover greater distances in shorter periods of time.
The pain is the same, and I understand it always will be. I dread it, and in a sense I crave it.

Why do I run? To stay in shape, to keep my health, to feel better — all partial reasons, I suppose. The reason is confirmation. Confirmation that I am in control.
Every day I must make a choice — a choice to experience pain and discomfort in order to achieve a higher goal or to give into the body’s urging to do something else more comforting and pleasurable.

Who is in control? My body or me? Every time I run, I verify to myself that I am in control and that I can be the master of my own destiny.
That is ultimately why I run. I feel guilty when I don’t run — When the body wins.
Running is a test of my strenth — not just my physical — but my mental.
Running is a challenge of my “will” — of mind over matter, of me against myself.
Running is mental conditioning as well as physical.
It’s therapy of the “will” for me.

Each run is success — the richest and most deeply satisfying.
Strangely but unmistakably tied to self-discipline, self-denial and self-control. In a world whre I often feel helpless, victimized and controlled, running helps revive feelings of hope, strength, and conviction that I can make a difference and I can be responsible for me. An addiction or choice, you may say. And you’re right — there’s a danger.

So long as I “choose”, the value remains true and real; so long as I control running and not let running control me. Positive addiction or not, the value is choosing. When the choice is gone, I become controlled and victimized again — one more thing in my life that tells me I am not in control, that I am simply a pawn of fate and circumstance. I must run as a choice, not out of necessity — or its real value again is gone for me.

Why Do I Run?
I run for success — success in the ultimate contest; the contest of me against myself.

–unknown