Running to relax, refocus

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By Stephen Cook

I love running.

S o m e p e o p l e might think runners are crazy, possibly much like I used to think. A couple of years ago I never thought I would enjoy running distance, let alone be capable of doing so. I was always the track and field kid that enjoyed sprinting and jumps and joked about how bad I would be at distance running, when in reality it was the truth.

But to me now, it’s much more than just moving from point A to point B while trying to survive.

For one, it’s a way of freedom. In busy day-to-day life, you often run out of chances to slow down and take a breath. Although it may seem ironic, running is my opportunity to do just that. I can’t answer my phone, I can’t respond to email and assignments and projects are out of the picture. When I’m running it’s just me and my music; I’m able to focus and put all of my energy into going faster and doing better than the day before.

It’s also an example of perseverance. I’ll admit there have been days when it’s hot or I’m tired and I think about quitting. Even if I’m drowning in humidity, I remember that in the end it would feel much worse to stop than to bear the temporary pain and finish. Knowing I quit and gave up would be mentally worse than the momentary physical hurt.

I believe there are life lessons that can be learned from just about everything you experience. Even if it is a small event in your life, you should be able to take something away that you can apply to your life down the road. This not only helps you to make better choices, but it also helps you to become a stronger individual.

For me, running is a learning process that prepares me for my day as well as the weeks, months and years ahead. As I said, it’s a sort of stress reliever; I can escape the world and just think about doing my personal best.

At some point in my life I’d like to run a marathon. I have a huge respect for those who can endure and finish with remarkable times in such circumstances. However, I know that extreme results are the product of extreme preparation. It is ultimately a matter of commitment: deciding to make the right choices in order to accomplish the goal in mind.

The thing is, you’ll never know until you try. I don’t want to live my life knowing I didn’t give everything in any area. What is worse than failure is the regret of knowing that you didn’t even try.

Then again, maybe I am crazy. Maybe my increased insanity is marked by my growing enjoyment of distance running.

All I know is at least it feels good to be crazy.

Contact Stephen Cook, editor-in-chief, at scook35@jccc.edu.

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