For the Joy

My heart is still pounding fast and hard, I’m all sweaty, but my nose is cold.  I’m euphoric.  I just got back from a pre-sunrise run in the glorious Foothills.

To be honest, it wasn’t quite a run. It was more of a jog… a jog interspersed with hiking. There was a time it would have bothered me to admit that I wasn’t running the whole time. I had some ego wrapped up in my performance and many times missed the proverbial forest for the trees. I missed having a good time because I was busy looking at my timepiece.

For the record, there is a place for keeping track of stats. There is a pleasure that comes from pushing oneself to be better. It can be fun and inspiring to watch ourselves improve, seeing our times get faster and faster.

But today was not that day for me. And as I get older and care less, running (or jogging or hiking) is all about the pursuit of joy.  This morning was absolutely glorious.  I left the house while it was yet dark, and a chilly, frosty blast greeted me.  I hoped I was dressed warm enough.

The otherwise bustling streets were quiet and empty. I made my way over to the nearby Foothills, where I found other folks gearing up for a morning adventure. Runners, bikers, hikers, dogs, and dog-walkers. It was getting light, but the sun had not yet come over the hills.

The trails were hard from the overnight freeze, and all the trees and shrubs and grasses were frosted. Little red berries clung to their icy branches.  Birds in the bushes were waking up, chirping their morning song.

As I was climbing up the hills, enjoying the feeling of my body now sweating and working hard, the sun was also climbing. Just before it showed itself, beautiful golden light burst forth, highlighting the curvature of the blond hills.

Every turn on the trail brought something new to see. A flock of geese happily honked overhead as they flew in formation. More bikers and people and dogs were on the trail now. When the sun finally came up and over that last hillside, I was just finishing my run… er, jog/hike.

And I realized that I’m not out there to punish myself for some dietary sins or recent slothfulness. I’m not trying to make up for lost time or a forgotten resolution.

I’m out there because I like it. It makes me feel good, happy. I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. I think thoughts I wouldn’t otherwise think as I breathe that fresh air and feel the breeze on my face and the wild all around me. I like it that it’s challenging and makes me work hard and results in euphoria.

I go out there for the joy.

 

(Julie, signing off)

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