Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Long Distance Running: Death By A Thousand Cuts

Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.-- Sue Grafton

I know anyone who happens across this title thinks, "what the hell is he talking about?". I may or may not be able to explain the lunacy of my thought process but there is no doubt that I actually know what I am thinking. The title is related to an ancient Chinese torture method of slow, lingering death. One cut does very little but a thousand cuts, as you go from one to ten to a hundred is likely, agonizing. The actual, physical pain can only be matched by the psychological anguish of knowledge that the next cut is imminent. The tortured person may hope that the next cut is the last. Whether it's the one that does the job or stops the cuts, stopping is undoubtedly the wish.

There is a saying that every run has its purpose or a lesson is learned on every run. I believe this wholeheartedly. Whether you learn something about hydration, foot strike, or even mental state on a 2 mile run compared to a 1 mile run, there are myriad takeaways every time you lace them up (side note, I don't ever untie my shoes but it sounds poetic).

As beautiful as every run is for me, there are equally the amount of uncomfortable moments. I run usually at 4am. I usually go to bed at around midnight. Although I function at a high level on 4 hours of sleep, it isn't ideal and I wish that I could sleep in. Most runners I know have a little, nagging, or something or other thing about their body that isn't necessarily painful, nor will it prevent the run but life, and running, would be infinitely more enjoyable. I have this hip deal and a sore back that wakes up with my alarm. It's gone in about an hour but there nonetheless.

So what is the death part exactly in my little analogy? Death, for the runner, is whatever we are after when we run. Some people run for weight loss. Some people run competitively, some folks are free birds and just want to be outside. For me, it's almost an addiction. It's therapeutic. It feels really good within 1/4 mile of my run. So what am I chasing? I'm chasing joy. I'm chasing satisfaction. In order to get that I have to run everyday. When I don't run... It sucks. 18 mile runs during Ramadan... Suck. Running on ice in my non-snow plow as early as 5am town...sucks. As much as it sucks, it feels so amazing. 

One day, any random runner will reach their goal. They will reach the pinnacle of their reason for running. Whatever the reason is for putting on running shoes and scooting, voluntarily into the wilds of the roads, sidewalks and trails will remain elusively private. Once that reason is reached. After that last cut is made. After the fatal cut is delivered. The will to run. The reason you opened the front door in the first place ends. Remember the saying that once the dog catches the rabbit, they can never race again? The same applies to death by a thousand cuts... One cannot die twice.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting sharing! I like your article ^^Runners will reach their goal. So good!