Headed to the trail for a run this morning.
I needed a bit of a reprieve from running in the ‘hood, as I was a bit traumatized last week, after crossing paths with a couple of ‘buff’ looking dogs. (You know, the ones with the super thick chests and tiny little butts.)
Now I’m not necessarily afraid of dogs, but I do have a healthy appreciation for them.
And their teeth.
I am well aware not all share my Quinnie’s temperament.
Q would simply mosey on over (careful not to break a sweat), gaze at you with her chocolatey-brown, puppy-dog eyes, beg for any type of physical affection (a scratch behind the ears, a pat on the head, or a scratch on the butt), and wait patiently for you to to tell her how pretty she is.
At any rate, after spotting the dogs, I quickly searched for a tree to climb should the dogs start eyeing me up as their morning snack. Fortunately, about this time, a truck approached from the opposite direction as I was heading. As soon as it was between me and the dogs, I sprinted as fast as my almost 52 year old legs would go.
(Which, while not terribly fast, was fast enough.)
I was relieved when I glanced back and saw they were more interested in sniffing a garbage can than feasting on me.
I continued my run, attracting the attention of pretty much every dog in the neighborhood.
Lots of barking.
As a matter of fact, so much barking, I didn’t give the free range pups a second thought until a man cruising by in a white Explorer slowed and asked if I had seen his two pit bulls.
As a matter of fact I had.
I shared what I knew and hoped to high heaven he would find them before I encountered them.
Of course that didn’t happen.
I wanted to be optimistic, but I wasn’t at all surprised when I turned the second from last corner and saw the two escapees standing in the middle of the road staring me down.
After weighing my options (curl up in a ball and cry or run in the opposite direction), I opted for the later, well aware it would add an extra mile or two to my run.
You will be pleased to know I arrived home unscathed.
Then, yesterday morning, I saw two women walking down the street, one carrying a large stick.
And last night, Reed and I saw a man and a woman heading down the road, and the man was carrying a large stick.
With those two sightings, my paranoia officially kicked in (because of course they were carrying the sticks to fend off lost dogs) and I opted to drive to the trail (where all dogs are on a leash and accompanied by their owner) for my run.
And I enjoyed every minute.
I enjoyed the decline as I eased into my run.
I enjoyed the challenge of the incline at the end of my run.
I enjoyed the coolness of the shade.
I enjoyed the warmth of the sun.
I enjoyed the soft breeze and the sound it made in the tall pines.
I enjoyed the camaraderie of other runners and walkers.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been my experience.
For many years, I ran for the wrong reasons.
I ran because I felt I had to.
I ran to feel in control.
I ran to feed my ego.
I ran to punish my body.
I ran to compete…against others…against myself.
But today, running isn’t something I have to do; it’s something I want to do.
Something I look forward to.
There are days I feel slow. And days I feel fast. (And many days I don’t really know if I’m fast or slow, as I don’t wear a watch unless training for a race.)
There are days I run a little longer than planned because I’m feeling it. And of course there are days my runs are cut short because I am most definitely not feeling it.
Heck, there are days I don’t run.
And the best part is, I’m okay with it all.
Once I began listening to and honoring my body, I was reminded of why I fell in love with running 40 years ago.
And that is my hope for you, however you choose to move your body.