I haven’t really mentioned running on this blog, since that’s largely recreational and I guess I’ve been focused more on actual, functional transportation. But with the Hagg Lake 25k race looming this weekend, it seems like high time to send a little nod to that other thing I do with my feet.
I think there’s a commonly held distinction between things that you do for purely recreational reasons and things you do to serve a greater end. For me (and for the purposes of this post;), things like running and sometimes biking are recreational, whereas biking to work, or running to get to my friend’s house faster than it would take me to walk serve a functional purpose. However, as useful as that distinction might be, I think it all kind of ends up being the same thing.
Sure. I run because I like to, and because I like the feeling of speed (ha–although it’s more of a slog, usually:) And I like the feeling of a whole body’s worth of muscles working together to transport me. But! Even thoughÂ it doesn’t serve a directly useful purpose, it serves a million indirect purposes, all of which I find indispensable.
First of all, it keeps me in shape, which of course makes biking or walking for transportation much easier. It also keeps me feeling healthy, eating well (because who wants to mess up the clean feeling of a run with a whole bunch of shitty food?), and in general feeling good about myself. The stretching that accompanies it keeps me limber and flexible, and I like to think I’m quicker on my feet (literally, I mean) because I use them a lot. Everything about me seems aligned when I run. Forget that shit about no pain no gain. If anything actually dehabilitatingly hurts, you’re doing it wrong.
But aside from that, it also gives me the time I need to let my thoughts wander in a way they never do if I’m just, say, sitting in a chair or looking at my computer. You never see it, but I begin many a blog post (or essay, or job application) on my computer and then figure out how it really should go once I take a break to go for a run. Movement, preferably outside, always sets things right for me, helps me figure out the order of ideas. So though I suppose on the surface it’s recreational, it’s also serving a very real purpose for me. And without it I go a little insane.
So let’s have a moment of happy contemplation for that other car-free pursuit, the footrace. And that being said, I’m going for a run. Heh. For real, not just because that’s a convenient way to end this:) Off I go!
Or another way of putting it might be to say that running is an instrumental end (serving other purposes), as well as being an end-in-itself.
An instrumental end, eh? Is that the fancy term for it? heh. I like it.
So yes. Running is an instrumental end as well as an end in itself. And I like it that way.
Hey, and it’s been a while. Don’t you think we’re due for some good philosophical discourse? ;)
Stephen Dedalus is always up for philosophical discourse. I’ve been reading Kundera for the first time. Good stuff.