Running Is Efficient

running.istockI don’t much like running, but I’m doing it.

And I have to say, when I miss an early morning with the quiet dawn and gorgeous jewel-toned sunrise, my whole day lags.

Yesterday at lunch with a friend, I heard the same phrase again: nobody likes running, but it’s incredibly efficient.

Yes, that’s it. You burn calories and get your adrenaline going quickly and effectively. You get that rush from exercise almost immediately when your feet pound the pavement. You feel your heart throbbing in your ears and you feel…exhilarated.

And exhausted.

This morning, I mostly walked the half mile up to the gravel track and there, I did most of my running because it’s easier on my joints. Plus, the fragrance of the dew in the trees and the grass and the spring blossoming all around me is intoxicating.

I can smell it more on the track, which is enveloped by trees and grass on every side. It’s almost like I’m hiking in the woods except I’m in suburbia and at the early hour I prefer, it’s as quiet as a solitary stroll through wooded trails. The other day, a white-tailed bunny scurried ahead of me.

The view when my run began this morning
The view when my run began this morning

Our ancestors didn’t run down paved sidewalks or even dirt paths. They toiled in fields, where real life was enough exercise to keep one fit and healthy. And they ate what nature presented them – none of this manufactured packaged junk we mistake for nutrition.

Our lives are, in many ways, harder than in days of old. Because we don’t have the benefit of simplicity, of connection to the earth, no recognition that our lives rise and fall with the sun and the moon.

When you take a step back and realize that we keep ourselves up artificially far beyond when we should be sweetly asleep, and we self-medicate with substances that alter our consciousness, you have to wonder what it’s all for.

Are we happier?

More content?


Less alone?

And when I finished, the red ball of sun lifting itself above the horizon.
And when I finished, the red ball of sun lifting itself above the horizon.

When I run, I am in perfect harmony. With myself, with nature, with my life. I don’t check email, I don’t worry about what-ifs and bills that are due. I am just there, one step after the next, breathing deeply in through my nose and noticing the beauty all around me.

When I started running, the mornings were very cold, so I layered up, but still I felt so alive. Awake. Even when my run started before the dawn.

There is something perfect about doing something that isn’t quite enjoyable but which brings such peace into my life. Yes, running is efficient. It gets the job done. And in many ways, it’s the connector between what is and what should be. So I’ll take it, even if I don’t love it. After all, there is a lesson lurking beneath the experience.

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