Recently I spent just over two hours with some very friendly mud, rocks, cliffs, trees, and a gurgling stream. Why is this worth writing about, you may be asking yourself. Over the month of December, my wife and I normally take time away from running and cycling to let our bodies recover from the training of the previous year and allow ourselves to relax and enjoy other aspects of our life. This year, that break was especially needed and lasted slightly longer than usual. This past weekend I got out for my first long run of the year, a glorious 15.8 mile trail run in the amazing Wissahickon Park (TOTALLY worth checking out when you are in the Philly area!). This run reminded me why I love running, beyond the superficial things like being competitive, racing myself and the clock, and wanting to always be faster. My run among the trees refreshed my love for just being out there. When I run, I do not have to worry about politics, work, money, or anything outside of what I am doing and where I am. Being out on the trail allowed me to focus on how absolutely beautiful the trails were. I could watch the stream rise and fall below me as I gained and lost elevation. The birds scurried about as I came by. I was truly in the moment and loving it. For a lasting moment, reality fell away and the world around me became a playland of sorts, where I was able to lose myself as a child does when they are playing.
This is why I run.