Running Addiction or Not

 

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“When’s the next race?” “Where’s it gonna be?” “Isn’t that too soon?” I field questions, though some sound like accusations, like these pretty regularly from friends, family and just about anyone else who knows of my propensity for running. Recently, someone made the comment – jokingly I think – that I must be addicted. How absurd – I thought, and that was that or so I thought. Much later, like a weed that has sprung out of nowhere it came to me, and just like a weed is wont to do, it insinuated itself into my thoughts and made me question myself; Am I? Can a passion for or belief in something turn into an addiction? And if so, in this case, is that such a bad thing?

Because exercise has always been a part of my life, it’s easy to see how I have attached myself to running: the form I am best at. Turned out running is the best outlet for my stresses and it allows me to stay healthy, fit and happy. There really is no other motivation necessary to keep doing it. On the contrary, there are numerous reasons to switch to something else; something easier, more social and interactive, less competitive, less likely to cause injuries etc. That I latched on to running is a credit to my belief in the good it does to the individual, and by extension, the larger community.

As to whether it has become an addiction, I doubt it. Running and racing for a competitive person like me is not easy, and every run where I don’t meet my goal is seen as s setback. It’s the main reason I race.  In this competition with myself, I’m always looking to improve my time with the ultimate goal being to perform at my full potential. So there you have it.. supremely self-motivated with a personal agenda driven by nothing but my own desire to give of my best in every area of my life; hence the next race and the next and the one after that and so on. I could easily exist without running but then it wouldn’t be called living and I would never know the heady joy of personal bests and true accomplishment upon challenging myself beyond perceived limits.

It is easy to see why one might call this an addiction but I promise there is no 12-step recovery program to become better. I am already better because of running: healthier, fitter, motivated, inspired and so much more as a person, mother, sister, friend, neighbor and one who hopes to inspire and motivate others to a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life. Is it any wonder I look forward to the next race? One tends to be pretty involved in what ignites their passion. For me that’s running.

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