Todd’s Weblog

A place to collect and share my random thoughts about running and other stuff

Archive for March, 2008

Run Like a Dog

Posted by toddruns on March 22, 2008

On my run this morning I was mulling a recent conversation I’d had with someone I had just met – one of those conversations where I was trying to convey my love for the sport of running. I had tried to describe for this person the primal nature of running. The feeling I get from time to time that I am connected to something deeply ingrained in me, something that brings to mind ancestors who may have needed this basic skill to survive. For me, it’s a connection with the animal within. After all, we humans are so much more than just large brains and opposable thumbs. I believe we evolved to run, it’s a theory that works for me both intellectually and on an instinctual level.

Back to the run – I saw this beautiful golden retriever chasing after a decoy that the human who was accompanying him had tossed. The dog seemed to exude pure joy. I thought a bit about how those retriever traits had been nurtured in the breed over the years, how not just the ability to “fetch”, but also the pure pleasure it give to the dog. Would the golden still fetch if it wasn’t fun or pleasurable for the dog? I don’t know how that could be determined, but I kind of think not. I’ve seen more than my share of dogs who would chase after a thrown stick until my arm falls off, and yet they return the stick, perhaps a little slimy – but always with the tail wagging.

Would I still run if it weren’t fun, if I found no pleasure in it? Probably not unless it was to escape from a predator. Or the IRS. Same difference. But really, as much pain and soreness and discomfort as there can be associated with running, it is still at it’s basic core all about fun. And the connection to something deeper inside of me.

So I run like a dog, not in an imitation of a dog’s gait or anything, but for the pure pleasure of loping along the trail with the memories encoded in my genes in the way a dog runs for the joy of it. Bringing pleasure and the quickness of breath and that I’m alive feeling that I don’t usually get while lounging on the couch.

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