Having posed the question to the public at large, I suppose I have to answer it for myself: what makes me run?
The proximate cause: on April 24, 2006, at 5:58 p.m., while bicycling northbound on Lewis Road in Olmsted Township, Ohio, I was struck from behind by a hit-and-run motorist, who left me lying motionless in the road with multiple fractures (shattered collarbone, broken left and right wrists, and a broken left elbow). Despite heroic efforts by a following cyclist (I didn't realize he was coming up behind me, nor had I even met him previously), the motorist remains unidentified.
This was the fourth time I had been attacked by a car -- sorry, 'hit' doesn't seem quite sufficient -- and it was the culmination of increasingly aggressive motorist behavior which had begun to present some kind of incident most every month, as new housing springs up like toadstools most everywhere, while old, too-narrow roads become busier and busier.
I've been a 'serious' cyclist since the days of the first "10-speed" bike boom, but after 65,000+ miles on the local roads, directing a local tour for several years, officiating 200+ races (plus promoting ~20 others), serving as an officer in two local clubs, and participation in two lawsuits against the grotesque abomination known as USA Cycling (more here, for those with the endurance), it seemed like time for a change.
Track and field was truly my first sporting love, and over the winter, I would run regularly for about 12 weeks, just to maintian fitness. Each time I would think, 'gee, what a nice change of pace, maybe I'll take the year off from cycling and just run.' Then would come the siren call of Spring, and running would be cast aside like . . . oh, nevermind!
This time was different. After healing up (mostly), I started training regularly in July, often on the trails in the Cedar Point area of the Rocky River Metropark. Ever the technical sort, I just had to guess what I might be capable of doing with a period of consistent training, so after a total of 16 miles in 8 runs over the first two weeks, I did a baseline test 5K run, which took 26:12. Not terribly encouraging, but I knew from cycling that my threshold power output (average for ~40 minutes) would increase about 10% from the beginning of the season until reaching a peak ~16 weeks later, so I figured I could do a little better than than that, since (in addition to recovery of aerobic fitness) there would be some specific adaptation to running. By Thanksgiving Day, I'd made it down to 22:35 at the Turkey Dash in Avon, Ohio, an improvement of almost exactly 14%. In the process, I'd become hooked.
So much of the appeal of running lies in its simplicity: just your shoes, socks, shirt (optional, I guess), watch, and you're ready to go. No need to pump the tires up, lube the chain, zero the powermeter, tend to any other mechanical issues, fill the water bottles, remember the helmet, etc., etc. No loading the bike in the car, or worrying about it on the roofrack. Workouts don't take as long, training volume is lower, and it's less costly. No motorists to contend with, so the solitude is uninterrrupted . . . just you, the trail below your feet, and the stillness of the woods. These are but a few of the gifts of running that someone else has enumerated quite well.
RUNdynamics is my attempt to contribute some information and insights that I hope will be helpful to others. Thank you for stopping by.