I Need To Run

By Rob Levey

Either life itself is moving faster or my perception of it has substantially changed through the years. Regardless, it does seem like I am always on the run to somewhere, which is a good or a bad thing depending on the context.

For me, ‘running around’ takes on two connotations. I am either running from client to client, job to job or kid to kid. What is my next meeting about, what sort of subject matter expert am I today, where is son A supposed to be at now, and where in the world is son B? These are the sorts of questions I often ask myself — and I know I am not alone in this regard, which is comforting.

The other ‘running around’ to which I refer is much more literal. I love to run — probably about 40 to 60 miles each week. With my insanely busy schedule, it is not easy to work in my runs, which leads me to what I thought would make for a cool blog post on a recent Saturday afternoon. It was 3:30 pm, and my son had a basketball tournament at 6 pm. He was going with his mom, so I had about 2 hours to myself. It was a perfect time to run, but I was really tired. I took a nap with my head leaned back on my couch and woke up at 3:58 pm. Generally, I like to run at least 10 miles on a weekend day, so I knew I was going to cut it close.  I had a lot of work, too, so I toyed around with the idea of turning my laptop on and checking some items off on my ‘to-do’ list. I then realized that what I needed was to check off a box that I often neglect — and that is the ‘go for a run and forget about the world’ box. I literally jumped off my couch, grabbed my watch, put on my shoes, and headed out the door.  After the first 1.5 miles I found myself feeling exhausted and thinking, “Maybe I will just run 3 and call it a day.” Thankfully, I refused that notion and continued to plug away. Generally, I start to really get into a run at around 4 miles, which is precisely what happened. I was focused and I was enjoying myself. Life seemed less dire. Deadlines seemed less imposing.

At the same time, I realized I was at risk of missing the first few minutes of my son’s game. I made the decision to keep running, however, and believed that running the full ten miles would benefit me both physically and mentally. Indeed, it did benefit me — and as I arrived at my son’s game about ten minutes late, I realized that we must all balance out our dreams and goals. Was that last mile worth it? Was it a wasted mile? Frankly, I am late quite often for many things—and unbeknownst to many people, I was probably squeezing in an extra mile. When I look back at all the times I ran that extra mile or two, it probably comes out to 1,000 miles. More than just miles, though, they represent memories. Maybe I saw a deer in that extra mile, or maybe I just hit that magic number of 10 miles or a mile that gave me 60 for a week. Whatever the reason, I believe it is valid.

Sure, I’d love to manage my time a little better. At the same time, though, I really am thankful that a part of me pushes back at the notion that I need to continue to work or complete whatever tasks are ahead of me before I go out for that run. I guess I don’t have to run, but honestly I think I need it.  I need that space and time to myself to decompress, think about the trees and the leaves that are appearing, dream about the life I envision for myself in the future, cry at the choices I have made in life, forgive myself for my mistakes and promise to not make them again (or as often), laugh at the beauty of a sunset no one on this earth sees from that spot on a nameless road, remember who I am or who I am not, or ponder the sheer joy and complicated beauty that results from watching your kids grow up and not need you nearly as much as you seem to need them.

Yes, I do need to run.


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.