As I prepare for an easy 16 mile jog this morning, I find myself contemplating the question I am often asked--why do I enjoy running long distances? I've never really had an answer; at least, not a complete one. I'd mumble something or other about running's meditative effect or the way I feel after a run. True, but those responses don't fully explain it. Maybe it's this morning's coffee or last night's deep, dreamless sleep, but the light bulb finally went off.
Rarely do I--we--actually live in the moment. Think about it. You wake up in the morning and you're thinking about what's going to happen when you get to work. At work, you're thinking about what's going to happen at your lunch meeting. During your lunch meeting, you're thinking about what you have to do when you get back to the office. After lunch, you're thinking about what time you'll be heading home and what you need to pick up for dinner. After dinner, you're thinking about what you need to do before getting into bed. Getting into bed, you're thinking about the next morning. Everything is about the next thing.
When I'm running longer distances, whether it's 15 miles, 26.2 miles, or 50 miles, my mind wanders, but there is no planning, no thoughts of what else has to be done. I am running. For that period of time, running is my sole focus. Everything is sharpened to a single goal. Run. Just run. It is one of those rare occasions when I am truly in the moment.