Fight or Flight?

October 15, 2012

This year, I’ve been running better in Cross Country than I ever have before. I’ve been working hard to stay on Varsity. Race after race, I’ve set PR’s. I’m getting close to breaking the 17:00 mark. And I’m actually racing. This isn’t meant to be a boastful post. It’s meant to be a post about the question “Why?”

Why am I running better than I ever have before?

Why am I setting those PR’s?

Why am I running?

To find the answer, I turned towards Walter Bradford Cannon’s theory of our internal “Fight-or-Flight Response.” The base idea is that animals instinctively chose one of the two options when faced with danger. Of course, this idea can be expanded to fit almost any situation. For example…is my improved running a Fight response…or a Flight response?

Fight or Flight?

Flight makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, after all, when animals choose Flight as a response it generally results in running. So, maybe my running is improving because my Flight instinct is kicking in. But what am I running from? Even that has an answer. Being in my Senior Year, I’m starting to realize that I have things to fear. Obviously, the things I fear are relatively trivial compared to the sufferings of some, but through the foolish eyes of youth…things like growing up, going to college, starting a career, and making a name for myself are pretty terrifying.

So, I’m running. I’m taking Flight away from these terrifying prospects. My natural instinct, I feel, has always been Flight. I’ve never enjoyed confrontation and maybe that’s why I run and don’t play Football. Flight. I’m Flying away from the future as I run my races.


I could be Fighting. Flight makes sense, but is it true? I’m not so sure. Of course the future is scary enough to run from. But right now, in the present, I’m starting to realize the things I took for granted over these past four years of High School…and I’m realizing that I’m willing to Fight for them.

Standing on this rain slick precipice of my future forces me to reflect. And upon reflection of my past four years of running…I’ve realized how foolish I’ve been to think that it would last forever. It was with the foolishness of youth that I progressed through my four years of Cross Country not realizing that there would, one day, be a Season that would be my last. One day, I would be faced with saying good-bye to Cross Country. With saying good-bye to Team Dinners. With saying good-bye to Saturday bagels. With saying good-bye to everyone’s favorite Swamps route. With saying good-bye to Kellogg Forest. With saying good-bye to practices. And, most importantly and difficultly, with saying good-bye to my Team and my Coaches.

So…maybe I’m Fighting. Maybe I’m Fighting because I’m finally growing up and realizing that I have so much to be thankful for. I’m finally growing up and realizing I have so much to Fight for. I’m Fighting for the Team. For Coach Flynn. For Coach Portis. For Saturday bagels.

And I’ll continue to Fight…as best I can.

I am a Superman in training, after all.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)



One Response to “Fight or Flight?”

  1. Dan Bell Says:

    I think thats the reason the past few years our team has became better as the “normal varsity members” leave. We figure the upperclassmen can take the challenges and we will never have too. Then your senior year happens and thats when you truly find out what your legs can do!

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