This past summer my husband and I got married and we are finally getting ready to head to our post-wedding warm vacation in Aruba. As I was packing last night I started thinking about running in Aruba. You see, it would be highly unlike us to not pack a pair of running clothes (or 3 or 4) when we go on vacation. I was thinking about running on the beach in the morning or even just enjoying an afternoon treadmill at the gym overlooking the ocean. It will be such a pleasant change from this recurring vortex thing we have going on right now!
Thinking about the chance to run in Aruba brought back memories of some of the amazing places running has taken us over the past few years. Being fortunate enough to be able to throw on a pair of shoes and run for several miles has afforded us some fun opportunities to see new places in ways that we might not have otherwise.
I’ve run through rural roads in Northern Michigan. I ran alongside a deer in the woods of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. And I have run country roads through farm lands in Southern Michigan, spying foxes along the way. I’ve toured all around Chicago and New York City as well as Milwaukee and Boston. I even ran through the carriage paths of the Rockefeller Estate.
One time in New York City after living there for nine years, I convinced my husband to run down the East River with me and across the Brooklyn Bridge. As we ran across the bridge it seemed so different from what I remembered on TV. When we got to the other side I realized it was because we were on the Williamsburg Bridge. Oops.
When we tried a second time and finally did cross the Brooklyn Bridge, I remembered that the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria was underneath the bridge. So we waited patiently in our sweaty clothes for an hour to devour some delicious pizza and then continued on our run, after a fun water taxi ride back to Manhattan.
During the first few weeks of our marathon training we had to stay overnight in rural Pennsylvania and the roads were too messy to run. We were welcomed onto the campus of Clarion University where we did our 6 miles on their treadmills followed by strides on the indoor track. I had never heard of Clarion University, but I will never forget it now!
I ran along the coast in Biloxi, Mississippi marveling in the late winter warmth and a tad thrilled not to be freezing on an outdoor ice rink. As I ran I was amazed by the damage that had been caused by Hurricane Katrina and how difficult the rebuilding process was, even after all this time.
I’ve run through the woods, cross country courses, rural farm lands, urban streets, snow covered roads, mud covered paths and even up a mountain once.
Thinking about all of this makes me feel so proud and happy to have had these running opportunities. Even better, I have done it all with my best friend at my side. It is incredible what being able to lace up your shoes and go for a run can do for you. It might just be discovering a new restaurant around the corner that you never knew was there, or a historical sight you might have missed on vacation had you taken the tour bus.
A few weeks ago after the last vortex passed I went for a run and was really griping to myself about how hard it was to trudge through the snow covered paths. I came up to a house that had a German Shepard on the other side of the fence, barking loudly. I was already annoyed with the snowy run and thinking about having to contend with a dog lunging at me was not helping any. As I got closer I saw the dog’s owner shoveling snow from the front porch. The dog was not barking at me, he was barking at the owner to throw the snow up in the air. He would then jump happily up into the air and bite at the snow. It got me thinking that instead of being so mad at the snow, perhaps I should be grateful because I sure was ticked this summer when the temps hit 100º and I could barely run a mile.
Running isn’t just about burning the calories or getting a good sweat. Sometimes it is about being thankful for the way your feet can move you so swiftly and free around corners or under bridges. I never know where my next run might take me, but it sure is exciting to think about.
Around this time of year a lot of us end up in a running or workout slump. It is dark and cold and hard to get motivated to get out the door and put the miles in. Perhaps instead of dreading your run and those snow covered paths, we can think about what might be out there for us today.
That’s not to say that I am not looking forward to sweating it out as I run across a beach!