At various points in my life I have run, but always stopped (sometimes for years before lacing up again). Run, stop. Run, stop.
7 years-old; run because that's what Dad does. 14 years-old; run because in small town high schools you do a sport (and face it, kid... you're no linebacker). 27 years-old; run to relieve the stress of divorce (here done with an insatiable vigor, sometimes twice a day).
Now 34, I am rediscovering the run. And the experience is more satisfying than at any other time. Here, done not for approval, a ribbon, or self-medication. Here done with joy. To reach that moment of simple being, when vision reduces to a pinpoint on the horizon, all else blurred and inconsequential. The mystical moment when feet that have been pounding the asphalt in a slowly-building rhythm suddenly... disappear.
I find ways off the asphalt, to muddy roads, sandy river-grade, and patches of grass. It must look ridiculous to see a grown man dart off the roadway and bound across the turf of an elementary school ball field. But this is running with joy. And it's how I know I won't be stopping again anytime soon.