I love to run. It’s my time to decompress. Sometimes it is my silent prayer. When it’s only me and the road, I find peace, and many times I think of solutions to issues on my mind. But as much as running offers me, most of my runs are only to maintain my fitness level or my mileage. Few are remarkable.
On Sunday I drove to Bethel, New York. I started my run early to avoid the impending daytime heat; the skies were pale grey and the town slept.
The roads were quiet. Animals fed in their farm. A distant rooster greeted the morning sun. Cornfields lined some of the roads of the Vintage Run Half Marathon course I was following.
Ducks, chased by a dog, landed on a pond across the street.
The trees that four months ago were bare were robust now with green leaves that would change to a plenitude of colors by the time of the Vintage Run on October 1st. Their perennial change is a reminder of the cycle of life we cannot escape.
The lack of rain exposed rocks in the streams that normally run full.
I passed two silos standing tall on the green acres of a farm on Old Taylor Road. Hay bales lay piled alongside the barn. I caught my breath after the long hill and wondered who lived in this remote place bursting with tranquility.
My pace was slow. The heat was rising and my lack of long distance training showed. I timed my walk breaks with the hills, snapping pictures of the gorgeous views that surrounded me. I breathed in this peaceful time alone, so needed in today’s hectic life. I realized I had not turned on my iPod, but I was glad for the silence to be so in tune with nature.
The town was awakening. Kids in their pajamas ran around in their yards, people walked their dogs, cars emerged heading up to the Woodstock monument. A woman asked how many miles I was running and offered water. “I have only a half mile to go,” I replied. “I can’t hardly make it to the end of my driveway,” she said with a smile. “Neither could I years ago. It’s a matter of giving it a try” I assured her.
I made my final turn and tackled the last hill. I was tired, but felt surprisingly good. I got to my car and waited for the sweat to stop pouring before getting in. I smiled. I was happy.
Sunday was a good run, a peaceful run, a remarkable run. A time away from the steel and concrete of the city. It was about being out there for the simple reason that I could be.