How I love running on an autumn afternoon. The cooler temperatures mean my face turns rosy amber, vs. its habitual purple, and I find the motivation to run a little farther with a cooler breeze at my back.
Running is freedom. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I daresay it saves my life every now and then. Really, there’s no other way to talk about something so transformative without being melodramatic so I’ll continue to expand on the gravity of the situation.
I can go for a run anywhere. Anytime. Safe neighborhoods, highways, dark of night and climate change notwithstanding, all I need is a pair of shoes and a pair of socks and some sort of hair clip, and I’m on my way. I may give you the impression that I run for miles on end, that the hours fly by and I own a fancy new pair of Nike heart-rate monitoring athletic shoes.
Sometimes, especially when I’m getting back into running after running around the world doing other things, I can barely run for 21 minutes. My breathing is labored and my pace is kind of hobbly, and my face is always a darker shade of something red, no matter the outside temperature. Sometimes I run in sad little fitness rooms, in discounted online motels near airports, knowing the 6 a.m. shuttle will be a mere iota more tolerable if I simply run 12 minutes on the treadmill. I always feel better, even after that little bit of effort. Then, I treat myself to Flashdance on TNT; who loves me, baby?
As adventurous and gear-intensive as my other athletic pursuits can be, I always come back to running. Shoes, socks, endorphins to follow; running is the basis for a well-adjusted relationship to the world. In my world, I’m sure of this.
The act of running makes me want to run more; good begets better and the positivity feeds on itself, as goodwill is prone to do. Run 21 minutes one day, run 27 the next. Just a few more blocks and suddenly, I’ve done 40 minutes, round-trip. Every part of me responds to the surge of energy.
Especially my appetite.
After a run, it feels good to feed my body what it craves, and it always seems to crave something good for me. The more I run, the more I burn up the occasional beer, girl’s night out debauchery or decadent dessert with no real ado. A good pair of running shoes and Flashdance waiting on the box: the inner – and outer – beauty secret that the magazines don’t mention.
The more I run, the more my perspective shifts, to let in a little more light and a little more width, height, scope of outlook.
It’s more like a panorama of perspective. I feel like I’m able to examine things as they pass across my psyche, like a movie reel feeding image after image across the screen, and become a casual observer rather than a reactive participant. Sometimes 21 minutes is all it takes. Literally stepping away from something lets me see it a little differently, and each step out leads me back to where I left off with more energy, and less clutter.
Fall is my favorite season, once I discovered what seasons were. Growing up in California, the most perfect weather I’ve ever known, I couldn’t imagine what all the “change of seasons” hype was about. What’s not to like about 80 degrees, every day? Still, there’s that umpteenth day when you wake up to another blue sky, another flawless yellow sun-filled world and you wonder what it’d be like to feel a strong breeze, or rain on your head or maybe even an overcast day so you can – daydream? Get some work done? Make a hot chocolate?
Having lived in Colorado for almost 20 years, I get it. I get the ebb and flow of the seasons, appreciate the natural variety that Mother Nature imposes, four times a year. There’s still nothing wrong with 80 degrees all year round, I’m holding fast to my initial impression of the world, but I do love the crisp air of autumn in the mountains and the frequently uninterrupted sunshine, so different from those hot summer afternoons punctuated with sudden showers and thunderstorms.
As I move towards nesting, I love feeling my appetite change. Like clockwork, I crave something warm to drink and something thicker to eat. Beef and Red Wine Stew at the Woody Creek Community Center tops my list of “change of season” cravings and after working up a hearty appetite, I look forward to stopping by the café.
Thank goodness WC3 is within running distance.