Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 203 - Home Run

Too many times I've had to resort to the "Holy crap! How am I going to get a run in today?!" run. A little over a mile. Close to home.

It's enough to count. Enough to keep the streak alive.

And sometimes, as far as I can go without feeling like I've been away from my kids too long. Like today.

I'm fortunate to have an escape, a refuge, just a half-mile from my house.

On these squeeze-it-in runs, the half-mile to the woods is usually not pleasant. I'm creaky. I'm cranky. I feel slow, old, and beat up.

I don't know if a half-mile just happens to be the distance my legs need to loosen up, or if it's getting off of the pavement and onto the trail, but my first step on the dirt brushes aside the aches and pains.

The trail is only 2/10 of a mile. But if I double it up, turning around at the far trail-head, it's almost 1/3 of my micro-run.

For those few moments when I surrounded by trees, and the footing is soft, and every step is different, I'm not just getting a run in. I'm running to recharge. And it feels the way it's supposed to feel. Refreshing. Invigorating.

When I have to leave the woods, the let-down of re-entering the paved, unshaded world of parking lots and sidewalks is more than made up for by the bounce in my stride.

The short 1/2 mile home is part restorative elixir, part tease. As I glide along the streets that just a few minutes ago I was trudging along, I'm in no hurry for the feeling to end. Yet with the moving parts warmed and firing, I can't help but go faster and faster.

When I reach my driveway, I stop, reluctantly. I feel great, just as I knew I would, eventually, when I took those first hobbling steps in the opposite direction.

With my body refreshed and my spirit buoyed, the rest of the day always looks a little better.

And I have the woods to thank for it... for turning an obligatory run into a treat, day after day.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on streets, sidewalks, and trail.