I run! Others say I am crazy!

I am not hooked on running could be argued.  I will leave it up to you. I think I know how I feel about it.  Some mornings I hate the thought of going running.  Just a few days before a big race, I don’t like the feeling and that feeling goes right up to the hours and minutes before the start gun. I am not really a morning person, so that may be the reason I do not get up early in the morning to go running. I am more a 16.00 o’clock runner.  I admit it is wonderful to run, once you have started, e.g. 5 or 10 km. into it and you begin to warm up and feel like all parts of the body have been freshly “greased” and it is feels like you can’t stop, or you think I can do this forever.  My grandson says he will invent or design an perpetual movement without any energy needed.  I will then ask him to do the same for the human body.   The beauty of evening sunsets, the scents of the forests, the sounds of the birds, the heart beating effortlessly are forces that compel and push to the mind and body’s enjoyment and its limits, after several kilometers of hours.

Running – well, I started running when my family moved to Germany, and I had just said Goodbye to my favorite sport of Baseball in Canada, and then I was confronted with the dilemma – what do I do now to continue this need of exercise in a foreign country where soccer prevailed and baseball was played on the soccer fields.  Our “missionary” budget did not allow me to choose from a wide range of sports, especially and expensive sport like golfing in Southern Germany.   I then discovered, in 1980, that the beautiful Black Forest scenery lent itself wonderfully to running.  Running was really not expensive – mainly shorts, shoes, sweatband and off to the hilly trails of the Black Forest. The Geraniums, the pine trees, the vineyards, the meadows, the quaint little villages that show up every one or two kilometers made the introduction to running very appetizing.

My first run was 4 kilometers. Next thought that visited me, was “I will try a marathon”. Sure enough my first marathon (under 4 hours) was in 1982.  Ever since then, I have signed up to many new races.

Running is an exercise that has always been quite easy to do.  I would say 89 % of the time I enjoy it. In fact I usually decide to run mainly to enjoy it.  Sometimes it is no fun, but then the race has to be finished, so I grin and bear it to the end. What is the exciting thing about running is that it not only brings about stress relief after a hard days work, but it also creates good stress which is one of the main reasons for running and running extreme. That is to help others, especially in some material way, as my run is connected to an event or fund raising cause that will bring about free will donations from friends, which then in turn is given away to unfortunate, less fortunate people. This is a big motivation for running extreme.

Running fast, well, what is that? I have never been close to winning a race, I have once or twice and maybe three times been first in my category – usually those are small races.  I have often, when I was young WAAY back then, been in the first half of the big bunch or crowd of runners.    My best marathon time has been 3 hours and 22 minutes. I can’t touch that any more.  Once I am last one in, I will hang up my shoes, I promised my wife. I always tell my wife, “How can you have a COMEBACK when you’ve never been anywhere?”  However it does say in the bible that we are to run the race AS TO WIN IT.That means do your very best.

So running fast is not the reason to run, it is not the medals, it’s not to loose weight, then what is the reason?  As mentioned – to raise money for others is a reason.  To reach out to other runners in a wonderful way of relationships is another big reason for me.  It is a great thing to use your hobbies, interests and talents to meet other people, to relate to them on the same “turf” and simply enjoy their companionship, get to know other people from other lands, backgrounds, cultures and mentalities is enriching and inspiring.  To also be able to share my life, experiences, joys and struggles and my faith in my Lord Jesus is also a wonderful thing.  To share of ones challenges, needs, to be able to “shop-talk” about the sport is good and meaningful.  A person learns so much form other runners, which is so helpful in one running life as well as in life in general.

Other benefits of joyful experiences of running that I can relate to others are:

  • To feel the fresh air, the smell of the flowers, the Autumn scents, the cool wet mist and fog in the air is refreshing and invigorating.  Some say only a runner can identify with this.
  • After a long and hard days work, to go out and run at 16.00 o’clock and then come back into the house, where my good wife has prepared a wonderful delicious aroma rich supper is “heavenly”.  I always tell my wife that the run after a stressful day at the office makes me more pleasant after the run.  I “spread” all my (most of them) complaints and problems on the forest paths as I enjoy the lovely scenery.
  • The environment, the nature, the clouds in the sky, the thunderclouds, the evening sunsets, the rain in my face, the wind in my face, the sound of my steps, the electrifying atmosphere  that becomes more real as I run in the outdoors is awe-inspiring and almost sacred.  I hear and see things differently.   Senses are more alert.  The heart pumps at a smooth rate of 130 – 150 beats per minute.  Math calculations come easier in these circumstances.
  • Not only is thinking clearer and faster at a heart rate of 140 beats per minute, but one also sleeps better during the night.  I can enjoy food, the meals taste much better, because there is greater appetite.  Usually a person’s resistance also increases, when a person trains correctly and doesn’t over train.
  • Run for the challenge of it. There is nothing like facing a long, long race, to see if you can finish it. There is some magic in facing a 2500 meter mountain (Swiss Alp) and trying to master it in a couple of hours.  Up and up we go.  You look down, and see where you have been, and realize how amazing and good life is when your two legs have carried you up that far in a short period of time.
  • Keep track of your distances run.  Record the distances run daily, weekly, each month.  Keep track of your heart beat – the average rates.  Keep track of the weather conditions. Keep track of the places where you have run.  Record the scenery, record your thoughts and inspirations that come form running.  This is a discipline that will help you in other areas of life.
  • Train and run for a good cause- run with an open mind and heart.  Meditate and pray during the running. Think on good things. And at times do not think at all.
  • Run for the joy of it.  Run to finish the race. Endure a little pain for a little while.