I read a blog entry called Confessions of a Running Addict. (Thanks, Bob.) An excerpt asks: "Why do I run? More’s the question, what if I didn’t?"
That's always a great question. For me, it's almost always about meditation and relaxation and getting in touch with my "real" life. A research buddy of mine recently asked me a similar question about why I run ultras. He wanted some quotes for a presentation he was giving at the Mid-Atlantic ACSM conference. I decided to go with a little slant in my answer because it's sometimes easier for me to answer the question: Why not run ultras? Here's the actual slide from the presentation. The photo is of my friend Dave at mile 120 of the 2006 Badwater 135-mile Ultramarathon. He arrived at the time station beaten down from the desert and her unforgiving ways and moments later, he pulled from the strength of many around him there, he grabbed his own bootstraps, peeled himself out of the chair, and said to his crew: "Let's go up the mountain. I want you all to cross the finish line with me together!" And he took off... and he climbed the last 13 miles (which rises up nearly a vertical mile!) to the Mount Whitney portal and finish line in 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Now, look at Dave's finish line photos. The answer to the question of why is there.