Jeff Galloway just posted to his blog on the satisfaction and reward of completing a marathon. Good words. I was thinking on a recent run about another reason why running is so personally satisfying. Whether it be finishing a race or just a challenging training run, part of the reason why it is so satisfying is because it is a pure, refreshing and positive manifestation of responsibility and personal accountability. What do I mean by that? And why is it so special, rare even, to feel that way? It is in part because today's dumbed down, courage lacking society would have us believe that we are not truly responsible for our actions (person sues McDonald's for burning their mouth with hot coffee and wins) and that there really is no accountability for bad, selfish, greedy, undisciplined, and reckless decisions that adversely effect countless other people. (government bailout of mortgage and auto industry). There are countless other examples of the weakening personal responsibility and eroded sense of self determination permeating our collective conscience and social fabric. (eat all you want and lose weight as long as you take our pill!)
Enter the runner going out for a run. What purer way is their to demonstrate that we are, in fact, responsible for the decisions we make? That anything worthwhile takes hard work and personal accountability? We run, we get in shape. Voila. So, in a pure athletic sense there is reward in finishing a marathon or any other challenging run just for the thrill of the accomplishment. But it is my sense that there is more to it than that. We work hard at a goal and achieve or fail, but either way we give it our best. We refresh ourselves knowing that the mind numbing, constant hammering we get from a society that tells us expecting immediate gratification is OK and that we can be as ignorant as we please because somebody will bail us out is a silly, selfish, and unconscionable way to live.