While pounding the rutted dirt of Wabash Trail this morning, alongside Rathje and Cleary, I found myself in a very Zen state. As runners often experience, especially on the gorgeous days, the flow of our strides was in sync and the conversation was spontaneous, meaningful, and memorable. One of the more absurd aspects of running, in my opinion, is how I can still remember runs from random days, with random people and in random spots. I still recall running with Nolan Border, Jacob Olson, and Pete Spinks on the morning of Border’s wedding. We pounded Mopac, feeling anticipation for the big day. I still recall running the dirt roads adjacent to the Niobrara River with Olson at the end of summer 2016, feeling like we were the only dudes in the county. There are so many more runs and people to mention, it’s crazy.
This morning stood out to me because of where our conversation steered over the course of the last few miles. First of all, for those who don’t know, Wabash is a trail that rises in elevation on the way out, so when you turn around on those long runs, you can fly with your homies! We kept it reasonable and comfortable today, which allowed for the topic of investment to creep in. I don’t recall how it got to that point, but I loved the points the boys made. We discussed the importance of buying into your grind and your suffering. One overlooked aspect of what we all do for LRCN is the power of influence it has on youth, especially our own children. Obviously, none of us are parent’s yet (although Rathje is about to join that club soon), so we spoke wishfully on this. I emphasized to the boys how, as a parent, I want to model true consistency in hard work, embracing suffering, and maintaining a level head through all of it. Kids, and even adults, can only be so motivated by words, videos, etc. I truly believe when one witnesses someone they know or love make sacrifices for the betterment of humility, faith, and humanity, it will inspire them to do the same. Whatever these sacrifices are, I think we all invest in something truly greater than ourselves. I recently read Tribe by Sebastian Junger, and in that book, he emphasizes how one of the important pieces missing in society today is peoples’ ability to invest in a cause that supports a group, or in other words, something bigger than them. I couldn’t agree more, but it makes me truly grateful for what we have.
I realize that a good number of us run primarily on our own, and look forward to that day or two a week where we can lace up the shoes with friends. What do you think it is that pushes us to keep going on those daily solo runs? We all experience different doses of motivation, and may not even run for the same reason. However, we’re all invested in something. Something bigger than us as individuals. Something we have faith in outliving us. Think about those runs, workouts, or races where you are really hurting. Those moments are the definition of living in the moment, with a hint of wishing for the end to come. When that end does finally arrive, we are ecstatic, joyful, and motivated for more. That is what we need to push onto others, runners or not.
I’ll leave you with these lyrics from John Mayer:
Yes, I have heard
There are some who avoid
All the pain that will come with the fall
But if that’s the case
It would surely erase
All the joy that you feel
When the hurt fades away