One of the things I love about running is the unexpected. I love the little things that happen to a runner, things that a person would miss if they were not at that place at that moment. If you are a runner, you know what I mean.
When I was in the Air Force, I hated running. It seemed like I was always injured so I was even slower than my usual slow pace. I realized I enjoyed running, oddly enough, when an Army doctor at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona prescribed running to clear up my lingering pneumonia. I had bronchitis in Basic Training and like most trainees, I ignored the illness for fear of missing graduation. I thought I was fine until a couple months later. I bruised my ribs while skydiving. I had to have a chest x-ray (and endure a lot of yelling for injuring myself while skydiving). The doctor called me back to the clinic to tell me I had pneumonia and should rest for 72 hours. Then after a week of trying to clear my lungs with medications and constant coughing, the brilliant Army doctor suggested I go back to PT (physical training) but allowed me to run at my own pace so that I could stop to cough when needed.
I thought this guy was an idiot BUT running alone in the dessert did two things. It cleared up the remaining fluid in my lungs so I could actually breath normally again and made me stop to take a look around while I was running. I mean, I had too. I felt like I was literally coughing up my lung.
My pictures of the Fort are in a box back in Maryland but here’s a picture I swiped from the post lodging site.
It really is a beautiful experience to run in the dessert as the sun is coming up and now that I wasn’t running in formation, looking at the back of someone’s head and trying not to trip over myself or someone else, I could see that. This is where I started to appreciate running.
That was in 1998. Running and I have had a tumultuous relationship ever since. Right now, we’re in love so I thought I would share the highlights of our relationship this year and the thing I love most about running.
There are so many little things about running that make me smile now.
This year, I ran a few races with friends.
In March, we went to Lisbon for a half marathon, which ended up being a 7k for me. You can read about that here.In April, we ran a half marathon through a wine region and you can read about that experience here.
I love races and there is always something memorable and unique about every one but I really love the little things that make me smile on a random Tuesday afternoon or the places you find when you get lost on a run.
A great example of this happened in Rome in Septmeber. Ryan doesn’t like when I run in strange cities alone. So, he helped me plan out a route that he thought would be safer. We used GoogleMaps to load the route on my phone since I have zero sense of direction. We had been to Rome before and he felt better about me running in a park and the well populated Via Veneto. We had no idea when we planned this route from our hotel that this would turn out to be such an amazing run! The Park was beautiful and far bigger than I expected with lots of little roads and paths.
The pictures below were just part of my spectacular view for the morning. I loved it so much that I just kept going.
On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at a busy intersection near the aqueduct. I looked to my left and there were about 20 police on horse back. Never mind that most of them were hot Italian men in uniform. The horses were beautiful! Tall, strong and beautiful… the horses, not the men. My light turned green so I ran under the aqueduct, constantly turning to watch the horses. It was one of those things that you don’t see every Wednesday morning. I never would have seen it if I wasn’t up at 7am to run!
A more emotional example occurred on our trip to Mexico a couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to see this amazing sunrise on the morning of Juli & Dan’s wedding. I was running along the beach and stopped to watch from a spot on the beach very near the area where our weddings took place. The great part is, I “discovered” this lifeguard stand while out on a run during our wedding week two years ago and just KNEW it had to be in our wedding party pictures. It was a sentimental place to watch the sunrise and I was wishing I had tried harder to coax Ryan out of bed to run with me that day. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises, even if partly because of the memories it brought with it.
I suppose these are not so little things… but it’s time to go for a run so more on the little things another day.