From the earliest memories of our youth until even now, we have all experienced the same sensational prompt that compels us both physically and mentally to recognize our current placement and use our means and resources to accelerate our speed and move forward, away from where we were, quickly and without hesitation nor complete certainty upon where we may end up after having moved. There is no other reactive feeling quite like this that reflects so many phenomena in life, which is why I find the act of running to reveal itself entirely as the key to so much for those who search for it as well as for those who may not even realize they already have it, and need it desperately. It is this ability that permits the recognition of danger and risk, and the power to either let your impulses move you away from it, keeping you out of harm's way, or the will to respond and allow your convictions and drive to direct yourself toward such challenges, sprinting into the unknown and exploring miles and distance never felt before. This is a force that I think about often, and one that I consider to be one of the greatest on earth that we all possess and have at our disposal. However, how many in this world realize this ability as not just a primitive instinct, but as an innate power we have to use to our advantage and reinforce as long as we have breath in our bodies? What is the nature of running as a reaction? What is the solution and equation to transmuting your running ability to a response? Lastly, what is the significance to recognizing the duality of this human function and using it to our advantage as both individuals and a collective?
To consider our human nature in running, it's simply not enough to regard it as nothing other than a bodily function, like breathing or eating. When we think about all that running entails, it is, by nature, a holistic practice. Our body, mind, and soul all align in complete harmony, combining to carry out one action. This is evident in the rush and exhilaration we receive from short sprints, and evident through the peace of mind and profound realizations we may experience from runs of great distance, each evoking their own unique impacts and sensations. This point of view was first realized partly by those who would engage in and spectate the foot races of Ancient Greece; it would become recognized that such running could not be taken as only sport for mere entertainment but moreover a science in itself, as well as a philosophy to be respected that would shape young and old minds alike. From that point on, this science and philosophy has solidified and evolved in every region of the earth, with every culture and country having their own expression and position of running as a way of life. Esoteric as it may seem for those who run avidly, to utilize the ability of running is something that belongs to every being alive and can be understood by even the most unexpected, serving as the ultimate unifying practice for the daring and hungry. That being said, what is needed intrinsically to explore this science and embody this philosophy in order to shift uncertainty and discomfort into excitement and productivity through feeling your feet hit the ground and the wind in your face?
Taken from the memory and residual feeling of countless miles over the years, these components have aided in noticing a pattern that occurs whenever finding a distinction mid-run that separates moving through instinct, and moving through conviction. This pattern displayed how it felt to run when having to, and the way it felt when choosing to. After having taken into account this phenomenon over time, it was unprecedented to discover that it wasn't until understanding running as an innate instinct for me to be able to comprehend that it was a power that could be molded and sharpened into something so much more, so much greater. Running no longer had to be something that was only done when hurrying or escaping, but could be a willful act executed with purpose. Similar to watching a plant survive when untreated compared to watering and nurturing it, or watching hot metal in its liquid form with no mold or shape to quenched into, I found the same forces to prove true regarding the act of running; the nature of it as a reaction I could only understand to be the same as the helpless plant, alive but far from flourishing, only existing as a means to survive and eventually perish. Further, to run only as a reaction is to exist as the formless, liquid metal, taking no solid shape or direction, but rather heating up only to return to nothing. These revelations did not serve as mere observations to me, but as lessons and principles to abide by if I were to insist in my desire to understand how to run with substance, direction, and conviction, as a response. This is where I would be able to use these lessons in their inverse if I were to make sense of any of it and help others to in the long run.
You are transmuting your running ability and philosophy from an unsure and uneasy standpoint, only having been used as a reaction, into a rigid and mindful tool that will now be implemented as a response whenever and wherever deciding to engage in such a powerful and holistic activity. This privilege that you are now embracing reflects that of a prolific and well-nurtured plant that receives constant watering, direct sunlight, and the attention that it needs to thrive and be ever fruitful. Likewise, your methods and mindset upon running no longer embody a shapeless waste of beautiful material that heats only when provoked, but a medium that is in the hands of a mindful and caring creator, being guided and manipulated toward a solid form that will last and prove useful to its maker for the years to come and long after. By these examples alone, this is the true essence of using your running ability to its utmost potential. Each breath taken, every heartbeat felt, every mile finished with focus and dedication provides the liberation and release so many look for, which is an objective promise placed in all of our hearts for the sole purpose of remaining sovereign in a polarized world. Anything short of this is to simply squander the gift you only have the privilege to feel for so long, which would be nothing but depriving oneself of a chaotic yet free path where everything grows and everyone welcomes you with the warmest embrace.
While learning how and accepting to run intentionally is a beautiful journey that everyone should see through on their own for the majority of their discoveries, this does't necessarily entail being alone throughout the entire duration. Running in your solitude will provide ample peace and learning of oneself that is integral to growth as both an individual and athlete, but running alongside others both known and unacquainted will bring about relationships and connections that will last marathons. It's only through this association formed in adversity where one can form friendship that's solidified prior to even the first conversation, which remains unique to all other exposure and socialization. There is nothing subjective that has been brought to attention within these short paragraphs, only the hard yet beautiful truth that there is abundant life in the ether, untapped and waiting for all to realize that it's only from discomfort and abandoning your previous inclinations regarding the pain and liberating the body and mind that it only takes plan and action to be released. We formulate and implement for the sake of realizing our current situation and changing it into something we can be proud of, but this is not possible without the catalyst that waits patiently for you to feel its warmth. This fire that burns so brightly within every one of us has been alive since birth, which serves as a constant reminder that we have the option to either allow our cardiovascular prowess to either diminish to dying embers, or choose to stoke its flame through resolve and focus, and watch proudly as your example shakes your peers and community, clearing a road that they can wholeheartedly follow and bask in equally.