I look out of the window to check the weather, the light, the overall state of play in the world outside my apartment. It’s time to run and I want to do it. I have to do it.
Now there’s a good question. So many reasons, all of which most adults are aware of but none of which answers the question really.
I run because it makes me feel less weak. It makes me feel like I am doing something but at the same time it stops me from thinking about anything other than breathing and the rhythm of my legs, my feet.
As I look out of the window checking things that don’t need to be checked at all, I feel anxious. I feel it now, writing this, just thinking about it. This reminds me of every test I have ever done. I have this serious sense that I am about to be exposed as in some way inadequate. I am 53 years old and still, from time to time, wake from a nightmare that tomorrow I have a test for a course I never attended.
This makes me think more about my running and why I do it. It’s not a simple answer, so that’s why I cannot offer it in casual conversation. Also, I am not really sure this is true. It might just be an answer I feel approximates to the truth, or maybe I think it makes me more interesting than I could ever be if I just said, “I don’t know. I like it.”
I think I run because I can do it alone and later share it with people I choose, people who might understand it, or maybe just find it of interest that a non-athlete can do athletic things. Running is my secret test and if I finish it successfully, I can reveal it. If I fail, I can make it part of a come-back narrative. Running makes me feel less useless. But only less useless is not useful.
The point is not to be useful. The point is to distract from any point at all.