Okay, so I'm soaking in the tub (for the squeamish, don't focus too hard on that part of the story), reading "Born to Run." Using the backstory of the Tarahumara Mexican Indians, the author delves into the different philosophies of various ultramarathoners and why they run. This got me thinking, why do I run? Why do I subject myself to this on a nearly daily basis? At first, the answer was obvious: I wanted to lose weight and get healthier. But I did that already, so why keep pushing myself? Well, I don't want to go back to who I was. That's true, I don't want to be that semi-gelatinous form draped across the couch watching TV all night, beer in one hand and pie in the other (and if that's you, I'm not judging. I've been there, man...but you know, a walk probably wouldn't hurt. That's all I'm saying. I swear). But there are other ways to stay in shape, the eliptical, weight training, Buns of Steel...you get the picture. So why running? What am I chasing?
Looking to my other hobbies, I think that comic books give me the clue for which I've been searching. I will never be as strong as the Hulk, fly like Superman, or even heal as fast as Wolverine, but maybe through running, I can find my own super-human. Isn't that why we like Batman? I mean other than the handsome, billionaire part, because everyone thinks that's cool. No, we like the idea that through hard training and determination, we can reach the pinnacle of our abilities and succeed. Even Captain America transformed his scrawny form to the ideal image of American strength and fortitude through rigorous training (and yes, a helping dose of mad scientist steroids, but I'm ignoring that little aspect of the mythology right now). Isn't the Flash cool, because maybe through an accident our slow jog can be transformed into lightspeed? Well, maybe it's just me. But that's my epiphany. That through running and by pushing myself faster and farther, I might find that extraordinary being who's been hiding under all those layers of fat all these years. Now will I be as fast as the Flash or as cool as Batman? Pfft. I'll be lucky to break 7:00 mins/mile in a 5k, but my own personal superhero doesn't have to be that larger than life. I doubt that I'll even reach Tarahumara levels of ability. But man, wouldn't it be cool if that fat guy who used to meld into the couch could run a 7:00 minute mile? I think so.