In 2016 I ran the New York City Marathon, something I never thought I would do. Immediately after it was completed I told myself I’d never do it again.
But now it’s 2017, barely, and I’ve already committed myself to run the 9 qualifying races in 2017 to gain entry into the 2018 NYC Marathon. It’s quite the radical change in direction.
Just to set the stage a bit and context for why I’m compelled to write about this, I’ve always been fascinated by how people think, and I love trying to figure out what makes people tick. So since it’s a new year, I figured I’d start with me.
On the surface it’s easy to reason that I enjoy the competitive feeling of running, or that the experience of running one marathon will help me with a second. Both of those reasons are true. I enjoy competing with myself to get better and now that I know what it takes to run a marathon it will definitely help me with the second. But a recent blog post by Jay Acunzo prompted me to think deeper than that.
In all fairness to Jay, I’m sure he didn’t think someone would equate “Executives Are in Love with the Wrong Kind of Data” with the reason for why someone runs, but it happened and here’s why. Jay talked about thinking critically and creatively, and getting beyond the surface of the initial data reported to make decisions and determine actions. The example he shared was excellent, and I won’t ruin it for you. But it does involve vegetarians and flying. Consider yourself intrigued.
The other big part about looking deeper into things, as Jay points out, is understanding the context or a situation. So if I look past the surface and take into account the context of my current situation, being a bit older now and having a family, it boils down to two things. Family and health.
Running has affected my diet and my decision on what to eat and when. Running is something that I can do with my boys and also will help keep me in shape to stay active with them as they grow older. It’s an activity that can be done all year round.
Sure it’s also about doing something that I know that I can get better at with time. I can make little gains more frequently and sometimes they’re not measurable in the number of miles run or how much time it took.
But the main reasons are family and health. So there you have it. That is why I run.
You’re probably sitting there thinking that what you just read wasn’t that enlightening, and I’d have to agree. Nothing earth shattering here. The whole point was to get you to entertain the idea of thinking differently and understanding the context. See the real value here in understanding me is understanding what my real motivations are and what’s important to me. And those things might not be too clear if you’re just scratching the surface.
Those important things are what will keep me motivated to keep my commitment to running, even after the excitement of completing races has worn off. These things are what will keep me committed to running without having to sign up for a race at all.
If you’re like me, and you want to have a better understanding about how people think and how to better connect with others, start considering the context of the situation that others are in, and try to look past the surface of things.