Purpose, Pandemic, and Running

Me watching a sunset in Hawaii last month. To me, it represents reflecting on where you are in life. That’s what this piece of writing is about.

Since the pandemic started, here are some things in my life that have decreased: miles run, writing, reading, and spending time with the people I love.

Since the pandemic started, here are some things in my life that have increased: anxiety, drinking, apathy, and time spent doomscrolling.

This situation is not unique to me. This pandemic has shook up many of our lives. Looking at the bigger picture, I have been really lucky that all my family has been in good health and not faced the same struggles many others have. I’m truly grateful for that.

While I am grateful, that still does not fix this giant void I’ve been feeling in my life since the beginning of the pandemic. For months, I’ve been just going through the motions. So I’m turning to the thing I always turn to during difficult times in life, running.

There is a great quote in the movie Without Limits. Unfortunately I cannot remember it or find it on the internet, so I will recreate it here with my own thoughts. From the outside, running may seem trivial and a meaningless pastime. And it is true, pursuing fast times and trying to win races is meaningless. But if you can find purpose in the kind of running you do, you may be able to find purpose in another meaningless pastime, life.

While the quote is not word for word, the sentiment remains true. By finding purpose in my running, I can rediscover purpose in other aspects of life and fill that void.

How do I find purpose in my running? It is simple but not easy. It is about recommitting to the work. In the next six months, I want to chase my personal bests in the mile, 3K, and 5K.

But it is not even about the times. It is about rediscovering the romantic side of running. It is about finishing the long run with a smile. It is about winking at your friends during a race because you know you’re going to blow the doors off the competition. It about pushing for the sake of pushing. It is about discovering the unbreakable parts of your humanity. It is about the trial of miles and the miles of trials.

I’ll leave you with this quote I read today. It is one that I’m going to be referring back to as I rediscover my purpose in running.

“Progress is about marrying strong self-discipline with strong self-compassion. Stay on the path. Fall off the path. Get back on the path. It’s as simple and as hard as that.”

This journey to rediscovering my purpose will not be perfect. But it is going to be worth it. I hope you’ll follow along. Going to have another piece out next Thursday or Friday.

Just a guy who runs and tries to do some writing