My very first half marathon. I DID THAT.
No coach, no running group, no race buddy,
no one even waiting for ME at the finish.
Just a Hal Higdon plan and my shoes. 

I think one reason I’ve latched onto running is because with it, I am in control. It’s hard to find that in other areas of life.

I enjoy team sports and activities. I’ve played on recreational soccer leagues, in community bands, and led a 30-person volunteer planning committee. Sometimes coming together as a group to create something is a very fantastic, exhilarating feeling. And you can meet some pretty great people along the way.

But there is also something to be said for individual activities, especially objective ones, like running. If I don’t reach my goals, I have no one else to blame. The results I achieve are directly related to the effort I put in. It’s not like gymnastics or ice skating or dancing where your depends on someone’s judgement. In running, the clocks starts and stops when you do. There is no getting around it. (Unless it’s a cloudy day and it messes with your Garmin, or you’re doing a chip-timed race and something malfunctions. Such is life! Nothing is perfect!)

So when I reach a running goal, or even just see improvement, it is so satisfying. I did that. I achieved that on my own. I didn’t do it with a team. And I didn’t have to wait for the opportunity to come along, or for someone else to give it to me.

In our work lives, we often have to rely on someone else to give us a job, an opportunity, an approval. Most of us can’t move forward without our boss’s approval, or without someone else offering us a job, or without someone else approving the budget dollars, etc. There is somewhat of a loss of control over your own destiny. Sure, you can work hard, and go after what you want, but at the end of the day, you are still waiting on someone else to give it to you.

In team sports/activities, you have to work on a team. I’ll use soccer because that’s my sport. You could have a fantastic goalie, who blocks 99% of the other team’s shots, but if you don’t have a offense who can hold onto the ball, it doesn’t matter how great your goalie is. You’re still relying on the 10 other people on the field to come together for a win.

Sidenote: This sentiment about being in control might have to do with the fact that when I do play my team sport of choice, I’m usually playing defense. Throughout years of soccer, I have only scored one goal, and that was on a penalty kick. So perhaps my lack of satisfaction in scoring in soccer is another reason why I’ve taken to running like I have. 

In your love life, it’s the same deal. You need the other person to be your partner. Otherwise the relationship isn’t going to be satisfying. I won’t elaborate on this, because every relationship is different, but it takes two (or more, if you’re into that sort of thing) to make it work.

If you have pets, you know that no matter how many things you do right for your pet, they still might decide to piss on the floor. Sometimes you just can’t control that. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, CAT.)

I would add in an analogy for children, but I don’t have any. I assume this all holds true for parenthood though. You just can’t control their bodily functions. Or how they turn out as adults. (Sorry for not going to church, Mom. You tried. It just didn’t stick for me. I’m still a good person though, so let it go.) 

But not with running. With running, it’s just me. I don’t have to wait for my teammates to show up. I don’t have to wait for someone to offer an opportunity for me to go out and run. I just put on my shoes and go. There is no asking permission. There is no waiting on anyone else.

And when things go wrong, I have no one else to blame.

But when things go right, I can take full credit. And no one can dispute my results.