"A guy walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, hey doc, my brother's crazy! He thinks he's a chicken. Then the doc says, why don't you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that's how I feel about relationships. They're totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs."
This joke from Annie Hall refers to romantic relationships, but the sentiment also applies to a runner's relationship to the sport. Long distance running is crazy, irrational, absurd. Explaining it to a non-runner is almost impossible.
Why do we put ourselves through the pain? Why do we battle the elements? Why do we give up our Friday nights to prepare for early Saturday mornings? Why do we spend money on organized races when we can run outdoors for free?
Because we're compelled to. Because it's worth it. Because we can't not. Because we're a part of a community.
Every runner has bad days (or bad miles) where we question why we're even out here. Sometimes everything hurts. Sometimes we don't see progress for weeks. Sometimes running just stops being fun.
But these times are the exception to an otherwise fulfilling rule. Running is more than just exercise. It's a lifestyle and an identity. Of course there are difficult times when we want to quit, but we just brush it off and try again tomorrow.
Because it's who we are. Because we love it. Because we need the eggs.