Why I Run

I started running when I was 10 in 1974 because our school was promoting "winter long distance running exercise". I answered the call as a good pupil and a student leader. I tried to excel at it just as I excelled at academics. My father, an ex-officer, rises early and runs to keep him quite fit. This also had positive influence on my running. The school's promotion of running did not last long just like political campaigns in that age. However I fell in love with this sport and my running has never stopped even though my education and career brought me to different places with different terrains, weather, cultures.

I do have interest in other sports such as Chinese boxing and have given serious thought about each sport I am interested in regarding how involved I should be considering my limited time for exercise. Running tops all.

Running is the most efficient cardiovascular exercise with the least overhead. I get up in the morning usually between 5:00 and 6:00. After bathroom ritual and programming my pressure cooker for breakfast oatmeal, I do a few minutes of light stretching then start running. Unlike many other sports, I do not waste any time on trips to any facility or waiting for partners or team members.

Running brings me close to the nature. I run through back roads, farms, parks, along rivers, on beaches, etc.

Running allows me to challenge my body in different ways. Sometimes I run to exhaustion as in a marathon. Sometimes I run with such intensity that my heart aches. I train my mind so it can dissociates it from the pains and aches screaming for quit.

Running allows me to understand my body in depth. To push the limit, I have to listen to my body very carefully - the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, the cardiopulmonary system, the digestive system, etc. The unfortunate consequence of frequent challenging my body is injury. I have injured most parts of my lower body - from toe to waist. The injuries have forced me to understand my body in details . They have also made me sensitive to calls from my body. I have learnt when I can push and when I have to ease or stop.

Running allows me to explore my neighborhood exhaustively. Whenever I move to a new place, I will have run every corner of my neighborhood in a month or so. When traveling, I maintain my running volume of 10 to 20 km/day. I have run to tour the Central Park in New York City, to tour the White House and Capitol Hills in Washington DC, to tour the vicinity of the Disney World in Orlando. I ran to many parks, rivers, my childhood schools and neighborhoods when I went back to my hometown Chengdu after leaving her for more than a decade.


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