Why run?

There are a few reasons to run, but the most important one is:

You will feel, after running, different from how you feel at any other time in your life.

You may feel great, good, better, worse, or injured. But you will, with 99.9% certainty, feel something that you haven’t felt before. The particular effects will depend on your level of fitness, generally. If you haven’t tried running, you will need to go for a run in order to feel what I mean.

It is not the same as a tough bike ride. It is not the same as the feeling you get when you wrap-up an important project at work. It is physical, and it insists on being heard (felt). If you are stressed before your run, you will have a hard time remembering that stressed feeling after the run. It is transforming.

Some other reasons to run include:

  • You want to be able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want (running causes food to evaporate before it hits your tummy – this is something I know from my old biking days).
  • You want to add a little discipline to your life. There’s nothing like setting a concrete goal for getting you to stick with a routine. And, since most goal-oriented routines lead to some type of betterment, this is generally a good thing. (For the record, I once said to my now-wife, “You don’t train for a 5K. You just do a 5K.” Here I am four years later training for a 5K.)
  • You want to commune with nature.
  • You want an extremely portable hobby that you can take with you on every vacation (and use it to see large swaths of a foreign city before your significant other even wakes up, which is handy if you want to act like you know all the best places to go sight-seeing).
  • You’ve set yourself an arbitrary goal of running a 5K in four weeks (well, mine is on August 27th – the Al Goldstein Speed Series 5K), and you don’t want to be embarrassed in front of your friends, who all seem to be accomplished marathon runners.

Finally, Zen Habits, in the article that actually inspired me to take up running recently (How to Go From Sedentary to Running in Five Steps) lists a reason:

You’ll eat better.

True – you will. While I’ve gone on and on about how you can eat whatever you want since it all just evaporates anyway, this guy says you will be inspired to eat better, simply because you will realize that trashy food does not provide good fuel for running. Trouble is, I did a running workout this morning, and I’ve been starving all day – and all we have is trashy food in the house.

I’ve picked and chosen from among the reasons above when deciding recently to take-up running and train for a 5K. In the end, who cares? I’ll be in great shape (with hopefully no injuries) and well on my way to getting back to a non-sedentary lifestyle.

The image of a twisted runner’s legs was released into the public domain by Fg2, and published on Wikimedia Commons. The image of a jumpber was released into the public domain by Wavertree, and published on Wikimedia Commons.

Quantum City

I don’t remember much about quantum physics, but I remember at one point we learned about something called the two-slit experiment. Basically, in this experiment you can show that a single particle can be in two different places at the same time. It doesn’t make any sense. As far as I know, nobody knows why it happens. And, to me, this was the first proof I ever had of the existence of God.

Something like this happens (or at least tries to happen) in the minds of New Yorkers every day. They try to be in two places at once. The most obvious way to see this is to notice the amount of over-commitment that occurs. Folks routinely commit to doing something when they are are already doing something else. They typically refer to it as multi-tasking, but it is really more like zero-tasking. They are trying for their mind to be in two places at once, and it just doesn’t work. But it’s okay – I can mostly shrug it off and just go on with my day, knowing that the multi-taskers will continue to do nothing while believing they’ve done something twice (or whatever it works out to).

But the more subtle form that quantum mechanics shows in everyday life in the City is when an individual walking on the street tries to both walk and stop at the same time. The stopping is typically in order to pause for a moment to figure out whether the walking is going in the right direction. A lot of times, the walker will stare at me (probably because I am staring at them) while they are pausing, and then that usually prompts them to continue on walking – as if I had caught them doing something wrong by stopping. Sometimes the stopping is due to the walker wanting to look in the window of a store (but without stopping to do so!). And sometimes it is really very simply that the walker honestly and truly wants to be walking in two different directions at the same time.

Some of you may think I am presuming to know the mind of a stop-walker. But really, this is all very easy to see once you start paying attention to it. All around me every day, folks are both walking and stopping (both figuratively and literally), and the City moves at a snail’s pace as a result.

It is a very sad time to live in New York City.

Why blog?

I recently came across a series of blog postings by a Google/Amazon employee named Steve Yegge. Interesting topics – for me at least – but I did notice that one that I have starred to read is on “Why Blog?”. Just thought I would give my quick answer before going ahead and reading his..

My most obvious reason to blog right now is: to find your voice. This idea comes to me from an old fiction professor of mine named Vince Passaro. The more I write, the more I will figure out what I want to write about. And, in his words, if I get to page 50 and haven’t found my ending, then I “must be writing a novel”.