At the beginning of this year, we sent a postcard to the Oiselle Volée Team with two blank spaces to be filled.
We planned to send the cards out right before the first of the year. I was home visiting family in Maine for the holidays and snuck out for a long run. Somewhere around mile eight, I had a thought pop into my head. It kept poking me for the remainder of my run. "Why do I run?" Over and over again and again. It was 25 degrees, the roads were covered with patches of black ice. The air I breathed in stung my lungs and the question kept popping into my head. WHY DO I RUN? I actually stopped to walk for a second because it became so overwhelming.
In middle school, I ran because I was the fastest kid on the soccer team. In high school, I ran because I couldn't make the soccer team. I kept running because I could win States. I could win New Englands. I could win Nationals. I ran in college because it would help me pay for school, and I kept running because I loved racing and I wanted to be the best. When that ended, I continued running but kept asking myself the same question over and over again. Why do I run? For control? To maintain fitness? But really FOR WHAT? What was the point? The looping question looped on and always came back to why?
The other day, I had a revelation. Right before I escaped out of the office for a run, the design team revealed the latest Flyte Collection. We oohed and aahed over the latest and greatest updates. Seamless. Wicking. Fabulous. Made to feel the run and nothing more. As I stepped out the door in one of the design prototypes, the notion of flight *Flyte* was fresh on my mind. The feeling of weightlessness. A freedom from life's stresses. Time to think. Time to process. Time to not think at all. Time that is carved out of the day for this meditative act. In a moment of running up Stone Way (a two mile hill back up to HQ), I stopped thinking about my heavy legs, I stopped thinking about my labored breathing. I finally stopped asking myself WHY do I do this thing? Instead I followed this new curious idea in my head. Maybe there was no answer to the blank space question: " I run because:_______." Maybe every run didn't need to have a purpose, but every run would serve a purpose.
I'm not sure whether it was the magic of the new Flyte Tank I was wearing or the state of transcendence that the Stone Way hill brought out of me, but I finally felt a weight lifting. I didn't have any answers. And not having answers was an answer in itself . A life with running in it, is a happier life for me, a more fulfilling life, a lot more interesting life. It's an amplified existence.
For the remainder of 2016, I'm going to stop searching for the reason why and focus on why not?
I know that inspiration will come and go, but you have to be willing to let it in. You have to put on your Flyte Tank, step out the door and welcome new possibilities and revelations. I didn't expect any big answers or takeaways from that run up Stone Way, but if I hadn't walked out that door, I wouldn't have reasoned with any of this.
For now, I'm going to keep running with this feeling. For this feeling. For the freedom of Flyte.