I love being outside. I always prefer outdoor seating at restaurants. I could walk around my neighborhood for hours without getting the slightest bit bored. Give me a camera to take along and the day is pretty much done. I’ll be out rolling around in the grass taking pictures of acorns until sunset.
But running outside? Yeah, I pretty much hate it.
This boggles my mind and frustrates me to no end. I enjoy running. I enjoy being outside. Therefore, one could logically conclude that A + B = C. Except in my case A + B = I enjoy running inside and doing all other things outside.
I can think of three reasons for this conundrum. 1 – I like knowing the facts. I like knowing how far I ran, at what pace, for how long, and how many calories I shaved off in the process. This is highly control-freaky but I work best when I can see tangible results in all areas of life, workouts included. 2 – I like not having to worry about crossing streets/falling into potholes/tripping over trash…because we all know that lacking grace is one of my most developed spiritual gifts. The treadmill doesn’t throw anything unexpected in my way, and as someone prone to falling face first into the unexpected, I appreciate that. 3 – Let’s be honest. I can watch Sports Center and Giada at Home on the treadmill…and I appreciate that too.
So when the urge to throw on workout clothes and go for a run outside hit me last Sunday I took full advantage. I changed in the blink of an eye and headed out before I could change my mind. I listened to the Packers game until my phone decided it didn’t want to work and ran in silence the rest of the way. And then I remembered that I like running without audio distractions because I always end up praying. I ran in the dark sans phone/iPod almost every morning while working in Admissions and it was the best possible way to start every day. (A practice I was quick to forget once I left Admissions and selectively remembered only the waking up pre-dawn and running in the first 5 minutes of consciousness parts.)
On Sunday I ran down my street, turned onto East Ave, and went down to Main to see the flagpole-turned-Christmas-tree at the intersection before turning around and running back to my apartment.
It was just wonderful.
The sun was setting when I left and as daylight faded I got to see the city all aglow with Christmas decorations. I was so entertained by passing countless restaurants and stores and homes and people. And when I ran over the highway, with the sun sinking low and casting it’s last light over the city, I felt like I was in one of those scenes from a movie I’ve always wanted to be in. One with a girl living in a city who get a sudden burst of determination and goes out for a run against a breathtaking urban backdrop. Whenever I see a scene like that I always think, “I wish I could run in a place like that.”
Well it turns out I can! When I was running on Sunday I was (yet again) overwhelmed with gratitude for my little Rochester life. I’ve literally been given everything I wanted in a place to live and then some.
So with that in mind, along with incorporating more running back into my life (seriously, there’s a running revolution going on over here…quick calculation: I think I ran well over 25 miles this week – 8 on Friday alone!), I’m going to make a conscious effort to get off the treadmill and onto the street more often. It’s a good decision in all respects.