Running for the Right Reasons

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.




5 thoughts on “Running for the Right Reasons

  1. Karen,

    Your story reminds me of why I don’t walk my neighborhood! I live in a rural area where people have a “free-range, do-as-you-please, I’m-an-American” kind of attitude. There are all sorts of dogs on the loose or behind fences ready to bark at you. Luckily we have a beautiful park nearby that works much better. Glad that you found that trail!

    I envy your mindset about running and imagine that you must have done a lot of work to get there. Keep at it!
    Thank you for the post and I hope you are well.


  2. Libby!
    I am doing well, and I hope you are as well.
    Sounds like our neighborhoods are quite similar. We can’t even take a walk without being barked at by 1/2 dozen or so dogs. As much as I love dogs, I find it anything BUT relaxing to take a walk. I love the trail…not only is it more peaceful, but the hills aren’t as intense, as it was built on an old railroad. The only thing I don’t like, is that I have to drive to get there.
    Have a wonderful day, Libby! As always, I enjoy hearing from you!


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