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Why I Run

April 24, 2010

Let me preface by saying that this is a rather lengthy post. The subject is something that means a lot to me.

Today, I ran in the Camp Kesem/Unicef 5k Benefit Run for Children.

I was one of the main organizers of the event and kind of at the last minute, thought it might be fun to run the race. I felt sick this morning and definitely had the butterflies going before the race. Part of that was due to feeling that my Camp Kesem name reputation was on the line. After all, my camp name is Flash. I felt like I had to live up to it.

When the race started, I foolishly zoomed to near the front in order to show all the Kesem members why I got my camp name haha. But soon enough, the race was on and I was keeping pace with a few other runners. I had originally planned to slow down about a mile in, but this was hard to do with two others by my side. So I kept up the pace most of the way through and pushed it hard on a really hilly course. I finished with a time of 21:52, which was over two minutes slower than what I ran in high school, but faster than I expected after coming in somewhat out of shape.

The 3.2 miles passed by pretty fast actually. Running with others helped a lot and I couldn’t help but remember my time in high school.

This was my first 5k race in a long while. In fact, I haven’t run one since my good ol’ cross country days, when they were an almost weekly occurrence during the fall season. This race brought back a lot of awesome memories.

Good ol' high school days

A lot of people have asked me why I like running so much. It’s a pretty simple answer: I run to test myself, my heart, my guts, my will. I dare myself to finish a run, pushing myself hard, just to see… just to see if I can still do it… if I have the strength to carry me through.

Running cross country at San Mateo High School was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my life and I learned so much from it. I owe it to all the wonderful runners on the team and Coach Tuff. The team camaraderie was amazing and was what brought me back year after year. There was just something about the struggle of long workouts everyday, and more importantly the struggle as a team, that I loved.

If this doesn't show a tight-knit team, I don't know what does...

We used to joke that our sport was all other sports’ punishment haha. I began freshman year as one of the slowest on the team, but no matter, practices and races were a test for myself, a test of what burned within me, a test of what I was capable of.

Although I don’t often run races anymore, running has remained an important activity in life. It’s one of my favorite outlets and going out for a run just helps me clear my mind a lot of times. Somehow, casual runs usually turn into mental and physical challenges. But I love challenging myself, and running is the purest way to do it. I’m just always curious about myself and my limits.

We all have different reasons of why we run, but I think this quote by the great American distance runner Glenn Cunningham sums up my motivations pretty well:

“People can’t understand why a man runs. They don’t see any sport in it, argue that it lacks the sight-thrill of body contact, the color of rough conflict. Yet the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. It is man against himself, the cruelest of all opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies deep within him, in his ability, with brain and heart, to control and master himself and his emotions.”

So that’s why I run. Why do you run?

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