I found it, the joy of running! Most people are familiar with the relief of crossing the finish line and all the stuff that comes after the workout; the guilt free pasta dinner, the toned legs, the endorphins, the race stickers with achieved distances, and of course, bragging rights. I have often been among these people, proudly declaring that I run to eat. It’s true.
But have you ever sprinted through the woods bounding over roots and stones, your feet barely touching the ground, the wind in your hair and your arms up like you were on a roller coaster? I recommend it. Of course, if you’re on a busy trail you might want to make sure the coast is clear before taking off like a crazy person to avoid terrifying fellow runners. Your animated charge might lead them to wonder if there’s an angry bear on your tail. Dare to run (and undertake most things in life) with extreme and childlike enthusiasm.
I enjoyed one of these mad dashes through the trees today while out for an evening jog. I have no idea what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the laundry list of unfinished projects at work that had grown yet again. Maybe it was the heap of dirty dishes and chores that greeted me when I came home. Maybe it was the continued lack of plans and places to be during the long months of social distancing. Perhaps it was simply the perfect storm of all the little disappointments in my life coming together to make me try to leap out of my skin for a second.
Whatever the case, it worked fabulously! For a marvelous 100 meters on a narrow, winding dirt trail with nobody watching, I ran as fast as my legs would possibly carry me. At one point I shoved my fists in the air like I was the first runner to finish a marathon, breaking the tape to thunderous applause. I gritted my teeth in my very best imitation of Mel Gibson’s Scottish freedom face but it melted into a huge smile that I couldn’t wipe off. I was a fully grown adult careening through the woods with my arms flailing high above my head, grinning ear to ear like an idiot. It was awesome!