November 18, 2014 by scratchtype1
Now the day before I wrote a post “Why Run?” and then went on to successfully write about how the human body runs. So in order to balance out my karma with the universe, now this will be titled about how we run, and I will ponder more about why I run. Mostly because I’ve been asking myself that question lately, in response to how with the half-marathon looming on Sunday before me, I’ve become somewhat obsessed about issues of pace and how fast I can run. Am I losing sight of a deeper reason? Not that speed isn’t a valid reason for many runners, but I will confess that I feel somewhat jealous when I watch elite marathoners run, that they can run like that for 26.2 miles and that so far in even my hardest sprints, I still don’t run as fast as they do for mile after mile. On the other hand, there is beauty in their form and I see a sort of essential humanity in it, propelling themselves along in a shared competition among themselves, with their very selves. And maybe to some extent, to answer how we run answers some why we run, and to answer why we run will answer some how we run.
Now the reason I digressed in the prior post was because I knew instinctively that in order to answer why I run, I had to talk about what I had found while working on how I run with hill sprints and form drills. How in that process I’ve realized that I’m only beginning to successfully use my glutes while I run. Now it’s not that I haven’t found joy while running before this — the movement brought joy, the challenge brought joy, the sensation of the body parts working brought joy. But then imagine that an essential body part had not been working as part of the symphony of human running. Imagine a symphony without the string instruments. Imagine Van Gogh without the colors.
Then one day imagine that the symphony you had been listening to, suddenly fills out with the sounds violins and cellos, how much more rich the sound texture becomes. Van Gogh’s Starry Night becomes more than sketched lines on canvas, it becomes a frenzy of color swirling about. Well, perhaps it’s more subtle than that, but that’s somewhat like the discovery I’ve felt and now have the glutes doing at least some of the work they should.
So how we run can add to the why we run. This is the why that can drive a crazy man out into the wind today that seems to have come expressly from the North Pole. Goodness it howled at times. Had Alan Ginsburg heard it, he would have titled his book, Wind, instead of Howl. It blew through the trees hard enough that oftentimes I looked behind wondering if a car or a train was coming up behind me. I ran into its teeth going uphill. It shrieked and drowned out the sounds of the cars that did go by me. Yet I could still hear the strange music of my body, I could feel the pull of violin bows in the drive of my hips to propel me up the hills. Such a strange music, so melancholy yet so joyful. Defiant that I would do a last tuning workout before Sunday, one of 4 hill sprints, 2 sets of skipping drills, 1 set of buttkicks, and 1 set of 70 reps of 100ups.
Brilliant. Cold. Wind. So much wind that the sun seemed distant and lost and beyond comprehension.
That is why I ran.