Sunday, March 3, 2013

Runner's Rambles: Running Makes Sense

Sometimes, it's nice to just get lost in a run. Being outside, running, thinking. It's a release from the confines of the chaotic rush of our society. There are days when I blare music to fit whatever mood I'm in, or whatever problem I need to work out. There are times when I run tech-free, and I just get lost in retrospection. Sometimes I let my thoughts run wild, run out of my head. Then there are the times when I want something to really distract me from the thoughts of wanting to quit early in my run, so I listen to NPR podcasts. I love NPR because I love learning new things, and I can easily get lost in their programming. Podcasts and audiobooks are also great for running because there isn't an underlying beat, like when listening to music, so it doesn't throw off the pace of the run.

Today, I decided to listen to a podcast of This American Life as I ran. I listened to episode #488 Harper High School, Part 2. It was about gang violence, and how it affects students at Harper High School in the Englewood area of Chicago. As I ran, I couldn't help but think of kids I work with every day in one of the projects in West Philly. The thought of what so many kids sadly go through is another thing that pushed me on.

It seems odd that the troubles of another person push me on, but when I feel there isn't really any difference I can make in a situation, it is like running is there to give me a bit of a beating. It is something that I can make myself rise to and above the challenge of. I know that running is nothing compared to the struggles they face. I often think of my grandma and how she struggled with the loss of her mobility near the end of her life, and I ran then too. I was thousands of miles away, and what could I have done even if I was there? There was nothing that I could have done to give her back her mobility, and so I ran. I have a pendant on my shoe now that reads, "Running for Grandma." I know I need to push myself now, take advantage of my mobility now because I could lose it at anytime.

In my experience, running makes sense of the senseless, and when it can't, it at least gives me a distraction from the senseless. There are many things I don't understand in this world, but do I have to?

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