Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

Why I run

Why I run

Two of my favorite running buddies β€” Stirlingshire, Scotland

I love to run.

My favorite runs are longer distances. I’ve done lots 13–15mi runs, one marathon and I’m training for a second.

People sometimes ask why and I like to say β€œBecause it feels so good when I stop.”

It’s a joke but there’s a kernel of truth to it. Running is really an exercise in how much misery you can stand.

Sometimes I go out for a run and I feel great the entire time. I feel fast and everything is easy. I’m plugged straight into the joy of the run. Even then though, the best run has a level of discomfort to it.

Sometimes I go out and it’s a slog. Every tenth of a mile ticks by in slow motion.

Jane and I went out for a run last Saturday. It was supposed to be an 11mi training day but I didn’t want to run at all and I was hoping for a quick 5k. I was on vacation. It’s OK to slack on vacation, right? No such luck. For better or worse, Jane’s amazing at helping me push myself when I don’t want to. After some back-and-forth, we agreed on 4mi out and 4mi back.

Unfortunately Jane started feeling bad around 5mi and decided to walk. God, I wanted to stop and walk too, but I finished the 8mi. And then I thought, I’m already at 8mi, I should just run the last 3mi.

Which I did. I found the voice of the quitter in my brain and told him to shut the fuck up. It was absolute agony. Every step hurt and I just wanted to stop.

That’s why I run.

To fight myself and win.

To fight for the joy of conquering uncertainty and self-doubt.

And because it feels so good when I stop.