I often wonder this, when I’m out for hours running and running. I plan vacations around my races and life at my house is coordinated around peak mile weeks and rest weeks. My race registrations and running shoes are just a part of the family budget.
The conclusion I have come to over and over again is that it is a type of altruistic selfishness, like much of what we do. By improving the lives around us, we directly and indirectly improve our own lives or the lives of those who are close to us.
Running makes me happy, and if mamma ain’t happy, ain’t no body happy. It’s like when the airlines tell all passengers to make sure that their own oxygen mask is secured before helping others, because if you can’t breathe you can’t help others. Running is my oxygen.
Running makes me a better person overall. I think more clearly. I sleep and eat better. I’m more emotionally balanced. I have more patience with others. I don’t get sick very often.
My kids can tell when I’m not running. It takes my oldest, Jazz (17), about three days to figure it out. My younger son, Sky (13), takes a little longer. I’ve had to reduce my miles due to injuries and of course to taper for races and there is palatable difference in the house. I’m a little more short tempered because I can’t sleep and feel like I have electricity running through my veins.
My children never go without something they need so I can run and I try to run when my children are sleeping, besides my races of course, so they are not missing time with me either.
Running impedes on my social life more than anything I do with my kids. I don’t stay up late on the weekends to go out with friends because I have to be up at 3 a.m. to run. I have a special diet and can’t eat at certain restaurants. All my extra money is spent on running so I can’t go to movies or hang out at the bar, or go to the theater very often.
But these are sacrifices I am willing to make. Frankly, I have a pretty addictive personality and there are a lot worse things to be addicted too than running. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify my selfishness.