On Running: The Quiet Runs

On Running
The Quiet Runs

Just as the sun touched the horizon, a young deer moved away from the others. Exploring the edge of the woods, she found acorns that had fallen through the night. She was getting her share before the squires started gathering.
A few miles away, I had just started my run; legs stiff and asking me to turn around. I ignored them, knowing they would stop complaining soon. Earlier, when the alarm had gone off, I wanted to keep sleeping. I had won that battle as well; two small victories.
It was a crisp morning. The world was colored with change and the air was new. I hadn't turned on the TV or the radio that morning. Nothing had spoiled the day, and it was perfect.
I remember moving along the trails, not paying much attention to my pace. You could say it was more of an exploration than a run. There was so much beauty that it was hard to take it all in.
The smells of the earth reminded me of my high school years, when I ran around the cornfields and through the woods around South Carroll.
There was no sound, except my breath. It was almost like someone had hit the mute button on life. And, in the slow rhythm of my breathing, the sights passed by like a parade, one striking picture after another.
Those runs are the best. Effortless, no thought of distance, just moving through the space around me. It was like I was a part of it all, even though I was miles from home in the middle of a place I had never been before.
I first saw her as I came around a turn. I stopped and she looked up and stared. I know it wasn't long, but those few moments passed slowly, as we both considered why we had crossed paths. Then she was gone; quickly moving back in the direction from which she had come, leaving fewer acorns for the squirrels to gather.
I stood there for a few more moments, wishing she had stayed a little longer. As I lingered, the sounds of the world returned with the breeze rustling the trees and the birds waking up.
My run was over before I wanted it to be, and I had to get my day started. There's always something that needs to be done. But, the rest of my day was touched with a feeling that I was blessed. There was beauty in the world and I would see it again - soon.
It's funny how the running itself was never my motivation. That came from my competitive spirit and the desire to run fast. Now that my fastest days are well behind me, most of what I appreciate isn't about the races, but about the quiet runs.
I appreciate the peaceful feeling I found while everyone else was still in their beds and the freedom of being a part of something much bigger than myself. And, more than anything, I appreciate the paths that I crossed, even if for the briefest of moments.
Upcoming Local Events
Sunday, November 18, 9am- Mayberry Four Mile - Runnymede Elementary School in Taneytown - contact Bob McCubbin at 410-374-5932 or runbob@juno.com
Saturday, December 1, 9am- Burk Memorial 5K - Tahoma Farm Road at Rt. 31 in Westminster - Contact Rich Beck at 410-790-0957 or buzzmd@yahoo.com

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at dpgflyingfeet@aol.com.