Guest article: For the Love of Running

Joy of Running
Keith Kasarjian in a meet

by Keith Kasarjian

Why Do You Run?

I’ve been asked that question a number of times; most of the time by others and occasionally by myself. Most of the time, the answers are easy to come by but there are days I wonder why. Only recently have I reluctantly admitted that I am indeed a runner. That title always seemed to belong to someone else but the reality is that I’ve always been a runner! In the neighborhood, on the playground, on the track team, up and down the field and court, or in the backyard – I’ve always run. But not this kind of running!

But I don’t run just to run. In fact, if I had to run 3 miles worth of circles 3 times a week at the track I would quit! I like to run different neighborhoods, wooded trails, and new places. In fact, I make it a point to not run the same place, pace, or distance any 2 consecutive runs. Variety is the spice of life, you know!

But why this kind of running and why now, at this age? Why 20 mile runs and 50 mile weeks? Why would anyone run for 3 hours? I know, I know – we look like we’re in pure misery running down the road and it does beg the question “why”? I recently heard, “Why would anyone want to run a marathon?!” (a marathon is 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers) Why would I risk angry dogs and distracted drivers to endure the pains, aches, injuries, and blisters? Why run in the ice (tricky), snow (kinda fun), and torrential rain (strange looks)? Good question and believe me I asked it a few times myself!

I don’t run only for the health benefits. There are many, but there may be better ways to stay healthy than endurance running. It isn’t for the endorphins. The fabled “runners-high” does exist and I can tell when it hits because I begin to sing aloud (and loud) with my MP3 player! But that doesn’t last long enough to make it the reason.

I enjoy running because…

I enjoy being outside! I have yet to find weather bad enough to make me prefer the treadmill. Rain, cold, and heat are all better options than running nowhere.

I enjoy peace and solitude! People with annoying or silly questions will seldom expend the energy it takes to run me down.

I enjoy being alone with my thoughts! It’s amazing how running opens up the mind and the thoughts flow so freely. I have often run with paper and pencil in my pocket to jot down ideas thought of while on the run.

I enjoy self-discipline! When I am disciplined in one area of life, I am in all.

I enjoy racing! I fell in love with the competition and camaraderie of racing my very first 10K.

I enjoy seeing new places! Running is the best way to get the lay of the land in places like Chimala and K’Songo, Tanzania, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Johannesburg, South Africa, and many places in between. God has given us a beautiful world and running is a great way to see it!

I enjoy goals! To set goals for training and racing and then work towards them keeps me motivated with worthwhile ambitions. Once, on a cross-country vacation, I set a goal to run at least 1 mile in every state we passed through.

I enjoy learning! Pushing yourself may be the best way to learn about yourself and the lessons of life. Mile 24 will teach you lessons that you didn’t know existed.

I enjoy being in motion! I am happiest when I am moving, being, and doing.

I want to be a good steward of the mind and body that God has given me! To take care of our health, as best we can, is a spiritual matter

Yes, I am a runner and I do enjoy it!

That’s all for now – gotta run!

Keith has been married to Kim for 20 years and has 3 children, Molly, Kyle, and Blake. Keith has preached for 20 years for churches in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He earned the B.A. from Faulkner University and an M.B.S. from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. He is currently serves as the Assistant Director of Extension Studies at Bear Valley.

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