I Love to Run
by Rob Levey
I love to run—and after not running for 18 years after high school, I began to run in 2010 after watching my oldest son Gustave experience his own joy when he laced up his shoes. You cannot teach that kind of joy. All you can do is stand back, shed a few tears and marvel when someone finds something they not only love, but excel at doing.
Indeed, I suppose I excel at it, too, as just the next year I placed second overall in the Seacoast Road Race Series and smashed my 5K PR from high school in one race with a 15:43. It was epic. A year later, however, I felt something was lacking, and so I began to increase my distance in my runs. I would go out for 12 miles and then 17, 25 and yes even 35-miler. Now that was epic, and I was hooked.
My first 50 mile race started out smoothly. I started clicking off 7-minute miles. 28 miles later, however, and the wheels came flying off my proverbial wagon. The once blue skies appeared grey, small inclines appeared as mountains, and the very notion as to who I was as a human being came into question. I no longer knew who I was, because I was so tired I could no longer hold myself together.
Somehow, I finished that race in second place. 6 hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds—and I needed every second, as I beat the third place dude by only 20 seconds. I crossed the finish line and my youngest son held me up as I hobbled to a grassy area and essentially drifted in and out of reality for a while. I was in fact so tired I did not even walk over to the beer tent and grab my free brew. If that does not tell you how I was feeling at the time, nothing would.
Well, so I am a guy that runs ultramarathons. I especially just love going for that long run. I grab my watch, put my shoes on and I honestly feel a giddy sort of excitement. What will I find on my run? What will I see? How will I feel? Who will I become?
Those are the questions I ask myself. I also review past choices in my life and I generally end up deciding that loving all aspects of life—good or bad—makes sense to me. I feel gratitude at the ability to go for such long runs—sometimes 3 or 4 hours—and by the end I return a different man. I feel better. I might feel super tired. I might feel emotional. The point is I feel things after these runs. I often cry both during and after my runs, too.
I will never exactly know why I run, which is the point. Perhaps I run to see what is around the bend or to catch a glimpse of a sunset through a grove of trees. Perhaps I run to see myself from the past in the distance. I don’t know—and in the not knowing, I find myself.
Rob is CEO of Exponential Squared, a marketing and organizational development company focused on helping small to medium businesses achieve their business goals and promote wellness in the workplace. With a diverse educational background, Rob never strays too far from his roots, though--and so you will find his freelance writing in numerous publications, including Parenting NH, Taste of the Seacoast, Union Leader, Portsmouth Herald and more. Learn more about Rob at exponentialsquared.com.