Here's something you may not know about me. I'm a runner. But not like the athlete kind. I'm more like this guy here. I was in 7th grade Cross Country the very year Forrest Gump came out. Do you know what that's like? "Run, Forrest, run!" was shouted at me repeatedly every time I ran past the school grounds. Funny enough, jogging to the bus stop now, I was even treated to the same phrase once as I went by a park in Salt Lake just 2-3 months ago. It's probably one of those same 7th graders, who never quite grew out of it.
I've never run a full Marathon, though I ran on the Cross Country team from 7th-12th grade. But most of my running these days is just to get from place to place. My daily routine to get to work involves running 1 1/2 miles to the bus, riding 30 minutes to Salt Lake City, then running another 1/2 mile to my work. I get rides home, most of the time, though.
That's 2 miles a day for me, 5 days a week. Most people think I'm crazy if I mention that. Especially when I add that it's in jeans, wearing a backpack containing a bible, a lunch bag, gloves/hat/scarf/umbrella for unexpected weather, a laptop computer, and other knick-knacks.
When running in near zero-degree weather one day, my father-in-law said "Maybe you're not such a wimp after all." Gotta love in-laws.
In High School, my friends always tried to slow me down in the hallways (outdoor hallways at my school, not the crowded indoor kind). But somewhere growing up, it pervaded my mind that walking is slow. Maybe it was my parents, who started me jogging with them when I was 5. Maybe it was video games, where character can run forever without slowing down (and if they don't, it's the most aggravating experience to move from area to area). Maybe it's just my inner desire to be different. Most likely it's all of that and more.
Why is it so weird to run everywhere? I ask myself this all the time. For me, it's totally normal. For me, this is how I stay in shape. This is why I eat anything I want all the time and have never had a diet. People in Kenya do it all the time. Why is our culture so lazy?
What I get out of running everywhere all the time is more than just a free-for-all diet. There's a definite sense of self-sufficiency that is imbued in me from being able to get from place to place without a vehicle. It's empowering. A friend last week asked me to come see his new office, 2 miles from where I work. I didn't have a car, but no worries. I just ran the 2 miles each way to see him. It wasn't even a big deal. The biggest problem was all the stop lights I had to sit through at every street corner. They delayed my arrival almost as much as the actual travel time did.
Why else can I not stop myself running? Well, I literally move 3 times as fast running as I do walking. Once you've grown accustomed to that pace, it's impossible to walk and wait that long to get places on foot. Only if I'm chatting with a friend, or if I'm just feeling really tired.
I once passed a college classmate in the halls on our way to the same place and stopped to chat a bit, and he commented on my pace. He too is an animator like me, and he said he prefers to take his time getting places so he can enjoy the scenery.
But he doesn't know...There's more to experiencing outdoors than looking at it. You can feel the wind much better when you move. You can feel your own body working, every part, to make your legs crank you along and arms pumping you forward...You get a better sense of depth of a place when you move through it quickly. The trees and branches 20 feet ahead come sprawling at you. Moving through an environment lets you see it in a more interesting way. After all, I'm an animator. Let the painters look at every detail. I want to see it move.