Meet Kevin. Bethany hooked us up so he can share his story with us. If you want to tell your Why I Run, click the link above. We’d love to have you. Yes, really. You.
I obsess over things. And not always in a good way. It’s how a one-mile weekly run turned into three four-mile runs per week. It’s also how an initial 5K last July turned into a marathon registration coming this fall. One day I took my first step. And the next day I couldn’t stop.
Peace and pain are the main reasons I run. Peace, because I like getting lost in the vast void of my mind. Pain, because sometimes all I want to do is feel something. I run faster than intended, more blocks than promised, longer in time than I explained to my wife who waits at home patiently ready to take on the day’s events searching for these two feelings. Some strides bring peace. Others bring pain.
I run for myself. Selfish, indeed. But I run to make myself feel better, for my health, my head and my heart. The fact that it affects the others around me is merely a coincidence. When I run I feel better about myself. When I feel better about myself I treat others better. It’s a simple equation, yet true.
Somewhere out there in the middle of every run I rediscover the fact that I am one lucky son of a bitch. I have a beautiful home filled with beautiful people. I am healthy, happy, employed, and loved. Somewhere out there during a long run, when the endorphins are released I start to feel a love for this world, for my world that is not easily come by under normal circumstances. It’s odd, really, that I need to run five miles away from my home to remind myself just how much I like it there.
I run for the T-shirt. I ran for ten miles and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. This lousy, little long-sleeve T-shirt may have cost me sixty bucks and months of training but it was well worth it. This lousy T-Shirt is my little trophy. For signing up. For showing up. For finishing a promise to myself.
I will wear this T-shirt every chance I get. I will wear it when I pick up my kids from school and to work meetings. What other kind of trophy can you drag around town advertising your hard work? A running T-shirt is the trophy of all trophies.
I run for my children. I am defined by this world as a father, even through my four children’s eyes. I want those Buzzkills to see me as an individual with goals and accomplishments. For a long time I was just a guy that dragged his bum back and forth from work. With not much in between.
My kids know little, but they do know that running a race is a big deal – three miles or twenty-six-point-two. They know it takes time, and dedication, and training. They see me go out at dusk on some random Wednesday night and they know I will come back months later on a Sunday morning with a smile on my face and a racing medal around my neck. They see this, and I hope they can see themselves in the process.
I run to get it done. How meta of me, I know. My mantra when I run is the following….the faster you run the faster you’re done. I say this over and over and over again until I cross that imaginary finish line.
Somewhere around the half point mark of every run it strikes me that I might be running another twenty minutes, or forty minutes, or one hour, or however long any particular run make last. The upcoming marathon will take me four hours to complete. And that would be considered respectable.
I can’t imagine doing anything for four hours straight. Not eating pizza. Not having sex. And here I am signed up for a four- to six-hour race. So, if you are near Philadelphia on November 18 and you hear the following chant over and over again….the faster you run the faster you’re done…. the faster you run the faster you’re done…. the faster you run the faster you’re done….you know it will be me….and get out of my way.
Kevin Harris is the author of My Pathetic Blog, a father of four children and a husband to one very understanding woman. And yes, he knows exactly what’s causing all those pregnancies! He writes. He runs. He plays. Find him at mypatheticblog.tumblr.com.