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Jul 17 / dbartolus

Why I Run

Why I Run

The most common question I’m asked is, “why.”  “Why do you run?”  The simple answer is because I can, but that would make a short and boring essay, so here is long answer. I started running about 5 years ago.  I woke up one day and thought to myself, “I want to run.”  So I laced up my Nike’s and hit the street.  I ran for what felt like an incredible distance but was actually just a mile.  By the time I got home, I was dripping with sweat and completely out of breath, but I felt like I had done something incredible, and I had.  I took my first step in transforming my life and my sense of self.

Before I take you further into my journey around running, we need to back up a little.  The reason I woke up and wanted to run was because I quit drinking alcohol on February 19th, 2007.   Alcohol had taken over my life and I had become a drunk.  Six months away from alcohol gave me energy and a new perspective on life.  I was attending Alcoholics Anonymous on a daily basis and many of the members were runners.  I think the idea of running may have rubbed off on me somehow because I was never a runner in the past.  So that’s really how it all started, I quit drinking and started running.

Am I addicted to running?  Truly the answer must be no.  Addition is defined as “loss of control” and technically, I have never experienced loss of control with running.  Unless you count those times when I set out to run a short distance and I ran long instead.  Or those times when I set out for and easy run and I ran very fast instead.  Alright, maybe I am addicted.  Is that why I run?  Do I run because I am switching out one addiction for another?  Maybe.  Is it the fear of gaining the 40 pounds I lost from quitting drinking?  Is it the endorphin rushes I get on occasion when my body, mind and spirit are all in synch? Is it those goose-bumps that breakout all over my body, the sensation of floating and the huge smile I feel on my face in the middle of a hard run?   Is that why I run?  Or is it just another manifestation of my disease of addiction, my need to control and compartmentalize my life.

Yes.  That’s why I run.  I do it for all of those reasons, but mostly, I run because I can.  I run because running rewards me on every level.  It has changed my life and the way I view myself.  The occasional “runner’s high” is nice, but that doesn’t happen often enough to motivate me to get out there day after day, and log mile after mile, even when I’m not in the mood.

I used to view myself as a controlling, overweight bitch.  I came across as aggressive and angry.  Now I view myself as an accomplished athlete.  I feel confident and secure.  This new view of myself has developed over time, but please do not misunderstand; I can still be a controlling bitch, especially when I don’t run!  But today I have a new way to channel my need to control, and I do it through training and racing.  I am most comfortable when I have running schedule to follow.  It satisfies my need to make lists and check them off.  Training for upcoming races give me the structure I crave and keeps my “bitch mode” in check.  In closing, running gives me something safe to be passionate about.  It keeps me out of trouble, gives me confidence, and keeps me slim.  I will always be an alcoholic and I will always over-do everything in my life, but I have finally found something to be obsessed with where there are no negative consequences.  That’s why I run.

Mt. Hood 50 Trail Run

Mt. Hood 50 Trail Run

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