Actually, I haven't run for about 6 weeks now. The reason: "A possible stress fracture in my right foot." The x-ray didn't show any fractures, but the orthopedist said that stress fractures often don't show up on x-rays, and the only way to be sure that it is not a stress fracture is to do an expensive procedure like MRI. However, if I continued to run ignoring my pain, then the possible stress fracture could exacerbate into a fully developed fracture. The thought of having to walk on a cast for 3 months was scary. I loved running too much to be away for running for so long. So, I decided to take the doctor's advice of treating the injury as if it really was a stress fracture, and take a break from running for 6 weeks. In the beginning, it seemed like 6 weeks would be a long period, but then it wasn't that bad. But now, as the 6 weeks come to an end, I can't wait to hit the road again. My plan is start with a short run tomorrow morning. But then as I am thinking about tomorrow's run, I can't help not be conscious of my eagerness to run. So, why do I love to run so much?
It can't be for the prizes, because I hardly ever win anything. It's not even the finisher's medal; I have run full-length marathons where there were no finisher's medal waiting for me at the finish line. It can't just be a fitness goal either, because fitness could be achieved through several means; why do I prefer running? Some of my friends may say that I prefer running because I am good at it, but then to me it seems like I am getting good at running, because of regular running, and not the other way round. There are social benefits of running with friends, but I run even when I don't have a friend to give me company. It's not an issue of trying to lose weight either, because fortunately, I don't have any weight issues, at least not so far. To the contrary, for quite a long time I wished to put on some weight and develop a more muscular physique. I even tried to do some weight training with a friend in Bloomington who is quite a hulk. But then the act of pumping iron in a gym could not hold my interest for long, and I gave up. Call it rationalization, if you may, but now I am very comfortable with my body image. In fact, I like the lean look of a long distance runner more than the sculpted bodies of body builders. The end result is I don't have a clear answer about why I like running so much. Surely, there are some benefits of running, and I enjoy those benefits, but to me it seems like running itself is the biggest benefit. In some ways, running then is like love. If somebody asks you why you love your beloved, you can't come up with a list of reasons (although some people may); you just love. There doesn't have to be a reason for love. Thankfully, I don't need one for running.