The real reason I run in the morning

My dad ran daily all the years I was growing up, and for a while in my early teens I joined him. Then I decided it was hard and gave up.

It took until I was in my early forties, about five years ago, for me to decide to try again. It was hard at first; I kept at it because I don’t like quitting. And now I enjoy it so much I anticipate running until the end of my life, or I lose my legs (whichever comes first). My dad turns 81 this year and he still runs every day. I can do that; it’s in my blood.

Snowmelt running
From my run yesterday morning. Maybe this will be a drawing sometime.

I’m not seeking any running converts here. I understand that running is probably passé; that you shouldn’t run unless you’re training for a marathon (I’m not); that cool people use treadmills or do yoga or do yoga on treadmills or underwater or something. Good thing cool and I parted ways decades ago.

While it’s true that running has a number of benefits—fabulous health, I feel great, I can eat whatever I want (in moderation), etc.—the real reason is hinted at in these photos. There are a plethora of country back roads for me to explore: one paved highway, many dirt roads; flat, steep, sunny, shaded; some with a car every few minutes, a few with a car every few days. (Given the sudden proliferation of wolves in our “neck of the woods”, that gives me pause as I run those hidden roads sometimes.) And early in the morning, when the air is cold and fresh and the sun is new, when the birds are noisy and the world is quiet—I wouldn’t miss it.

Sunrise valley
From my run this morning

There may be a notion out there that country folk are naturally fit. Well, in my experience country folk are at least as attracted to the gravitational pull of television as city people. Most of us don’t have farms, at least farms that have to make money; many of us are retired, and most of us have machines that do the heavy lifting (so to speak) for us. While limited internet and cell signals keep us from being completely nailed down to technology, we still manage to sit around.

Me? I’m in front of a computer or a drawing table all day. So I welcome the chance to go outside and enjoy nature for an hour a day, to ponder life and make plans, to listen to the birds and smell the springtime, while my body happens to be running.


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