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"I have to run"

Posted by George Parker on
<b>"I have to run"</b>

"I have to run."

I must have uttered this phrase daily for over a decade. No other phrase gives me spouse such consternation as "I have to run." Do you want to go to lunch? "I have to run." Movie night? "I have to run." Head to the pool?

I don't always say no to lunch, movies, pool, etc. I have to run first.

There are few other things I hold with such discipline in my life. I have a running coach, but he's not lording over me to run. My wife and kids aren't giving me a hard time if I don't run. Nor are my friends or neighbors. No one cares whether or not I run. But I know.

I read this story about a runner in the Badwater 135. I wished I remembered his name, but he's well-known in the ultra-running community. He was in the midst of a long daily running streak of running at least one mile (often many more) daily. He finished the Badwater 135 and was physically and mentally broken. All day, he rested. Towards midnight, he did his best to get up and complete his daily mile. It wouldn't happen that day. His body had had enough. No one would fault him for not finishing a mile that day. No one even cared. But he knew. The next day, he ran his miles. That was Day 1, again.

I have written before about how running becomes a thread that passes through all days of your life. Running is there on happy and sad days. If you let it, running will be the background noise or soundtrack of your life. Most days, the noise is faint and unremarkable. Occasionally, you'll hear something remarkable.

You have to run first.

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