As much as the trail beckons, most of the time I can't go traipsing through the woods. I have a day job and bills and some responsibilities (though I try to keep those to a minimum). However, none of these curb my urge to explore, and suppressing my need for Nature just makes me more restless. And so when I'm unbearably restless, I run.

One of the houses I passed frequently when I went on a long run in college. The red siding definitely left an impression.

I've always been a casual runner. I ran in high school to train for soccer in the off season, and in college I ran to de-stress. I approach neighborhoods, bike trails, and urban nature parks much like hiking trails: slow, moseying, and watchful. In college I got into the habit of running through places I've never been - historic neighborhoods and winding park paths. I would imagine what sort of people lived in the large homes I passed. Maybe they were professors or lawyers or artists. I wondered how they lived and decorated their houses and if I ever saw them around town.

I used to run so long that I would get lost, and in the long ago time before smartphones I'd call up my friends (hoping they'd answer), give them the closest intersection I could see, and beg them to navigate me back to familiar territory.

I don't get lost so frequently now, but when I do there is still that thrill of discovering something new. It eases my restlessness in the littlest way, and eats away at the constant ache of wanderlust.

Running means accumulating running things. I've had a stash of old and new running shoes for a long time from my first Adidas Glide to my New Balance W1400 and Samling Distance, but I've just started accumulating those flashy finisher medals.

Want to read more? The Oatmeal summarized this well in his comic "The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances." Buy his book, or at the very least read his comic: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

 

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