When I have to myself long periods of time I tend to revert to some...peculiar habits. In my youthful solitude of being an only child I would write (obviously), read (of course), practice a half dozen instruments, and frequently engage in "bored running." Yes, bored running. It is a real thing, often deployed as an antidote to the dread "bored eating" and usually resorted to after several days of mindless couch potato-ing in front of soul-numbing TV. 

"I'm hungry, but I've already eaten two pints of ice cream over three days...TWICE this week. I'm bored of bad television and my next soccer league doesn't start until mid-June. What to do? I know! I'll go explore the neighborhood on a run - a nice, easy, no-pressure run." And so I do exactly that. I pick a direction I've never run before and hope I don't get lost.

Licensed image. Not my pic. Sorry, I still haven't mastered the whole "take a pic of myself running" deal.

It was a little less exciting this time with my GPS watch beeping out the mileage, making it difficult to totally lose myself in the run, but it was still good to get out and explore.However slowly I go in the awful Southern heat (why is it already 90ᵒF already?!?) I can still convince myself to get outside on the pretense that I'm exploring not running. Sometimes my routes turn into cul-de-sacs and dead ends and I have to retrace my steps. Sometimes they are long, slogging stretches where there is no sidewalk and I'm running in calf-slapping grass to avoid cars on the road and get back to walkways. Sometimes I see just a bunch of identical-looking houses and cars parked in the short driveways that are so similar that I stop in my tracks to figure out if I've somehow run in a loop without knowing it (I hadn't). Sometimes I run past dads with babies on their shoulders walking out to check the mailbox, and I feel baby's intense blue-eyed stare fixated on me, the strange sweaty runner with the swinging ponytail. Sometimes dog chase me or I chase dogs. Sometimes I startle someone on a quiet side road who is practicing some fly fishing technique in the street. Sometimes I run a whole quarter mile without even noticing anything because I'm so engrossed in an audiobook. These are all possibilities, and they all happen, and I only know this because I went on a little run and explored.

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