Samar Halarnkar (i like him) had tweeted, asking runners to comment on why they run, for one of his pieces. I sent mine. He said I can post it to my blog and he might use one or two lines. I wish he does :-)
I have been running for few years now. But its very irregular. These days I run about 3 kilometers on the road in the morning and about 2 kms in the gym. I have run two Bangalore Sunfeast 10k runs (with a mediocre 72 mins best time) and I'm planning to run my first half marathon in Auroville come February.
Why I run? As one would expect, I started running to reduce weight and become 'fit'. Merely running doesn't work ofcourse. Infact while I learnt to swim in a crash course of about a month, I was burning lots of calories in the pool and gaining lots of weight outside! I was living in West LA at that time. Try swimming for few hours and going to an Indian restaurant immediately after!!
I know US Republican leader Mike Huckabee lost incredible amounts of weight by running marathons etc. I have lost 4 kgs from 72 to about 68 in the last 4 months. Even this wasn't as easy as it sounds. And it was mostly because of a reduced food intake. But I have become fit nevertheless.
I have heard from an avid cyclist friend (who finished Tour of Nilgiris last year) that biking is a personal struggle with oneself. No matter how trained you are and have friends coming along, that stiff climb on the way is essentially a personal journey. You are on your own. You can give up and walk the bike. But most bikers won't do it. They will struggle with all their might. I'm sure runners feel that way too. Imagine putting that kind of effort in your office work.
Coming back to my running. Since I wasn't all that fit until recently, I used to utter some Sanskrit verses (i'm atheist) to concentrate. After some distance, its difficult even to do that. Then I start counting my steps. I think about various things while running. I quit my previous job after an intense falling out with colleagues and managers. Those fights in office were rehearsed during my morning runs! My manager finishes his Sunfeast 10k runs in less than 60 mins. So there.
And finally, the reason why I think anybody will care about my rant. In the last year, I have been chasing some incredibly tough personal, professional and political goals. Completing a run boosts my self respect (i run 2-3 circles of my neighborhood). When my body wants to give up, my mind tells me, "no, I'm not that weak. I'll finish it. If I can't achieve this, how will I succeed in my bigger goals". I'm not exaggerating. I do feel that way.