I’ve been asked a few times now, why do you run so much? The simple answer is to maintain and accelerate my fitness. Now that I think about it there is much more behind the reason I run and why I choose to push myself further.
Think back to when you were a kid and what did you do almost everywhere you went….you ran. Then after you you done running to get where you were going what usually was on your face….a smile. As from what I can remember from my younger years running and being happy went almost hand in hand, although I’m pretty sure I ran in terror from an imaginary beast from time to time to later find out there was never anything there. But even then a smile would come upon my face when I figured I’d out run the mythological monster following me, man I’m fast would resignate with me for days. When playing sports and out running an opponent to the ball or chasing down a deep fly ball in the outfield, at no matter what age a smile would accompany any one of those feats.
As I aged I only seemed to run if I was late for something or only if I really needed to, running seemed to become…well not fun anymore. Now I sit here and think why did it have to become not fun? Why did that childlike sense of wonder have to leave me and make something that most of us will remember as being so much fun as a kid have to leave as I aged. Maybe because it wasn’t cool to run places anymore and you’d get looks or honked at while running down a road to get where I had to go or more then likely I got my license and that became more fun and less work to get where I had to go and I got lazy.
Into my late thirty’s, early forties I’d go through spells where I’d start jogging for health reasons and start feeling fit again. I even went to compete in some of those trail races, I say compete because I always signed up for the elite division, I kind of figured I wouldn’t win, but when I showed up at those events I felt I belonged in that group, even if I didn’t have all the talent, I felt I had the drive to compete with the best that was there. I would usually finish with a personal best and somewhere in the middle of the pack. Not bad I figured for someone with limited hours to train. I ran those for a couple years, only to fall back into the grind of having to work and responsibilities around the home would take over and running fell by the wayside. Now I know that was just an excuse, no matter how busy I became there could’ve always been room to find something that was just for me. I always felt I left something unfinished behind.
It’s a funny thing how cancer, is awful as it is can give you a focus like you’ve never felt before in your life. Just to be aware if you follow me along you may here me repeat that sentiment more then once. As soon as I healed up enough after surgery and about two weeks after my cancer diagnose something inside drew my to the back of my closet to find my old running shoes, that were in tough shape, and lace them up. I’m not going to lie, the first few trips out hurt like hell, but at the end a sense of accomplishment came across me, along with that smile that I had lost for a while. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I said “fuck it” this cancer isn’t going to take my life and everything I love away from me and from then on I have pushed myself harder and harder each run, even when I feel like shit or it’s cold or raining that’s not going to stop me, because one day it will be taken from me, but not today!
Some of my longer runs, say 15km I’ll do without music, just so I can listen to myself. Believe me, there’s a struggle going on in there, the demons telling me just to stop and quit, “Why do this Medhurst, what’s the point? It’s not like running is going to cure you?” It’s crazy the battle that happens in your mind when your dealing with cancer, and when I win the battle that happens when I’m running and I finish every time it’s a therapy like no other. Small victories like those help keep my mind clear, focused and continuing to progress forward and to understand what is really important in every aspect of my like. Running is inspiration. Finishing is will-power.
Now before I finish this post, If anyone who reads this feels they always wanted to start jogging, hiking, walking or whatever, my advice is do it now don’t keep putting it off….one day it will be to late. That can go with anything in life… Starting isn’t easy and for me it wasn’t either, read my post “How Serious it Is” and you’ll understand, I’ll never use any of that as an excuse to slow me down. Everyone has a better self inside go run after it and you also may find that child-like wonder you used to have.