The sun is shining; it’s the first time it’s done this in a while. There aren’t any clouds in the sky, either. It might even be warm enough for me to leave off my jacket and not freeze to death, but I haven’t tested that one out yet. Either way, today feels like a turning point; the death of the horribly cold winter and the birth of a new year of life. At least I hope so, anyways.
I step out onto the balcony. It’s mid-morning, but I can already feel that it’s warm enough. So I pull on my shorts and t-shirt, lace up my running shoes and start to limber up. The stretching itself is somewhat painful; after all this is my first run in a good three months or so, and I’ve been somewhat lazy about exercising in the meantime. I never was a gym person; pumping iron or running on the spot never interested me.
I love the feel of the road beneath my feet; the bumps and straights and climbs and descents. I love the feel of the wind rushing past my face and through my hair, helping to keep me cool if it’s too hot or keep me on my toes if it’s colder than ideal. I love the cars passing me by, occupants turning their heads to gawp at me, and the old ladies on the street who look at me intensely as I breeze past them. I love it when I pass beneath an avenue of trees, providing a moment’s shade, and I love it when I cross rivers and streams and hear the gurgle of fresh water running beneath me. I love the point at which the town ends and the country begins, nothing around me but fields and farms and mountains and forests. I love the sense of wonder that running in the country gives me.
In short, I love the natural side of running, the reliance on nothing but my own faculties to keep propelling me forward. I love using the things I see as markers for timekeeping, and I love how the scenery changes the further I run. I love the impressed smiles and cheery waves I get when I pass someone I know, someone who doesn’t expect me to be a runner. I never did understand that, but then I never did understand why more people don’t run. It’s such a pleasurable activity. Society is becoming lazier.
I love the feeling, at the end of the run, of exhaustion and exhilaration mixed together. I love the sense of achievement, and the knowledge that I’ve pushed myself to do something most people wouldn’t. I love looking forward to the next run, where I can push myself harder and faster and further; I love the target-setting that runners inevitably do. I love the feeling last thing at night, when I lie down in bed knowing that I’ve earned a good night’s sleep.
Most of all, I just love the act of running itself, and the escapism it offers.
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