Dave Griffin on Running – The Carroll County Times – Sunday, August 5, 2012
I ran onto the paved trail that loops around the pond behind my office building. On nice days, a lot of people walk there. I see them talking on cell phones or with friends and know they’ve made a brief escape from whatever awaits them back at work.
I left them behind, not wanting to be around anyone else, and ran between the buildings in the surrounding corporate campus. People and cars moved about as I passed them, on my way to a quieter place.
I didn’t have to think about starting this run. It was decided long ago in the habits I've formed over the years. Each night, I pack my running bag. In the morning, I take it to work. At lunch, I grab it, go to the locker room, and get dressed. Then I run.
By the time I reach isolation, I’m in a trance-like state. It’s hard to describe to someone who doesn’t run, but those who do know what I mean. Sound is muffled. Worries dissolve. I am simply moving, sometimes effortlessly, sometimes not.
This run was a good one. I was feeling fluid; there was no hint of pain. I looped around some grassy fields, the high sun hardly casting a shadow. There was a breeze pulling the sweat away almost as quickly as it surfaced.
Running is a physical exercise. That’s obvious, but there is a strong connection between movement and well-being. Each step eases a lingering emotion. Anxiety and worry are soothed.
Of all the things I’ve gained through running – the accomplishment, the strength, the confidence - nothing seems quite as valuable now as the emotional stability.
When I started running as a boy, I didn’t know I was beginning to build life-long disciplines. Personal responsibility was in my make up, so the sport suited me. And at some point between then and now, running evolved from a sport to a passion and then from a passion to a way of life.
I never took a personal inventory; I don’t remember constructing a plan for who I wanted to be. I’ve been an example of good fortune; the path I stumbled upon has led me to a good place.
During the last miles of my run, I settled into deep, undistracted thought. I don’t want to leave the rest of my life to chance. I want to think about the future and use the wisdom I’ve gained. My good life must become a life of purpose.
We are in constant process of evolution. The only question is whether the change will be by design or by default.
So for now, as I run, I’ll use the quiet time for personal reflection. I’ll think about the character I want to develop, the influence I want to have and how I want to be remembered. I’ll decide on a new vision and work on new habits.
Then, no matter how the path ahead might turn, I will have faith in my chosen virtues.