Monday, July 11, 2011

A Case for Running: Exploration

I've posted a few times about different running routes I've taken.  Routes where I kept going because I just felt like running.  Recently, I've gone on a few runs simply because I wanted to see what was around the bend.  That's the cool thing about going for a run; the exploration aspect.  Sure you can go explore things in a car, in a boat, on a train, with a goat, or in the rain (wait that's Green Eggs and Ham).  Let me begin again.....Sure you can go explore things in a car, but you're driving fast and most of the cool things worth seeing, you never see because it's all a green and brown blur as you go past.  You see the big things, but not the small things.  And there are some places a car can't go, like down a trail.  To me, exploring a new place is best done on foot and if you're going to be on foot, you might as well be running. 
The view from atop of one of the hills I ran on Saturday.
This evening I went for a run (well before the sun went down, mind you) and I took a route recommended to me by my sister-in-law.  I ran it because it was a 6 mile loop and I'm currently training for a 10k. But since I had not run this route before, I got to explore it.  It was a fantastic loop!  There were parts of it that reminded me of my trip to the Midwest and Nauvoo with it's towering trees along a wide canal and the miles and miles of green.  The air was heavy too because of the impending rain storm and so the run even felt like I was back in Illinois at the Keokuk camp ground (where I fell in love with my husband, so I was naturally in a good mood during the entire run).  Then the run became hilly and I ran past these large estates with massive amounts of pasture and huge houses on top.  I ran past cows and some really gorgeous horses.  I ran alongside a thunderstorm and through loopy and squirmy roads that seem to announce "Yes, you're in the country now!"  I got to explore a part of Iona I hadn't before and it was a beautiful run.     This is what I love about running, just being out there, getting to decide where you want to go.
No this is not a picture of the storm I ran in. 
It's rather hard to run with a Nikon
strapped to you.
But there is another aspect to this exploration I speak of.  There's the part where you're exploring your own limits and what your body is made of.  As I got to the hills and when the wind storm announced the arrival of the thunderstorm 2 miles before I got home, I got to explore my limitations as a runner.  Could I keep myself from walking this last hill?  Can I make it back home despite the fact that I'm sure these winds surely mean that a tornado is barking at my heels?  Can I keep going?  For some reason 6 miles is a lot longer when you're running a new route, and so I got to explore my 6-mile self in untested territory.  You can learn a lot about yourself that way.

So if you're looking into becoming a runner, here is my 7th reason (I've lost count by now, but I think it's the 7th reason): The Exploration!!

Here's my challenge:  If you've been running the same route over and over, stop it!  Go out and run and make different decisions.  Decide right then where you'll go and go somewhere you haven't gone before.  I'm a big believer in driving to a running route as well.  If you live in a place where you just don't get inspired or it's hard to find a new running route, go drive to a different spot and start running there.  I highly recommend running in my area here in Iona.  If you want directions let me know, I'll even come with you!  I have recently dubbed Iona as "The Land of Beautiful and Inspiring Running Routes."  You won't be disappointed.  So, once you've explored a new route, tell me about it!  I want more stories (and more followers, hint hint).  So go out and run and then shoot me an email,

1 comment:

Jani said...

Your imagery is beautiful (and funny). Your writing is... amazing. Your insight is inspiring. And your challenge is... well at this point your challenge to this old lady falls on deaf ears. But who knows... one day I just might...
P.S. I think you need to contact the city of Iona and tell them you have a new motto for the city!