|There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul. --Kristin Armstrong|
Why I Run--by Nicholas Triolo, syndicated from territoryrun.co, Jan 12, 2020
It is just after 4:00 am. I was dreaming about Missoula, running around Mount Sentinel just before dawn. I threw on a blue hoodie and began reciting in my sleep why I run:
I run to remember. I run for order. I run because I fear disorder. I run because the folds of my belly say run. I run because wolves run. I run towards. I run away. I run to feel, to feel, to feel. I run because it’s free, because it’s egalitarian, because it’s subversive, because people tell me I shouldn’t. I run because there aren’t memberships or green fees. I run because 4.5 billion years of evolution watch me and wonder if I’ll keep using these legs. I run to thank heart and lungs. I run to praise gravity. I run for those who can’t. I run to feel strong. I run until I’m weak.
I run for a view, for a longer view. I run to stir up red-tailed hawks and magpie iridescence. I run because it’s hard. I run to listen. I run to learn my limits. I run to escape. I run to leave. I run away from claustrophobia, from the condensed, human-made world. I run to encourage others to run. I run to check in with that streambed, that great-horned owl, that throne of granite at the summit. I run on roads at rush hour because passing cars on foot might be one of the best feelings in the world. I run to play. I run to rely on myself, to know that I’m good enough. I run so that I don’t have to stare at my laptop and make these ridiculous lists. I run to think, to follow, to earn that breakfast burrito. I run from anger. I run from commitment. I run to commit.
I run when the world becomes too sad, too divisive, too full of hate for me to bear, and the only antidote is singletrack and breath and raven croak. I run to hack at the digital. I run to feel young. I run for structure. I run knowing that some outings will be light and fast, while others will be lead-footed and gassy. I run because if all else fails, if our machinery dies and all we have left are our two legs, I’ll be ready. I run to honor what’s already been lost, as oil fields pump dry, as greed and populations exhaust ecosystem after ecosystem hinged on man’s egosystem. I run because when the old world ends, there will be a new world waiting, and that world is etched not in strip mines and eight-lane freeways but in game trail and footpath.
I run towards this new world, a world where humans remain fair-footed and landscapes bubble with life on the move, always on the move, running and flying and swimming and dancing. I run to catch up, to join this movement, the movement towards attention, towards subtle mind, towards pumping heart, lactic burn, and clenched teeth.
I run to remember.
Nicholas Triolo is a writer, long-distance runner, and Digital Strategist for Orion Magazine. His writing, films, and photography have been featured in Orion, America’s Best Poetry Blog, Terrain.org, Juxtaprose, Patagonia’s Dirtbag Diaries Podcast, Trail Runner, Whitefish Review, and others. He lives in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. More at nicholastriolo.net.
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