Friday, June 19, 2009

This place never ceases to amaze me. I have been enjoying some amazingly beautiful runs lately around my place. Until recently, I don't think I ever appreciated just how beautiful it is right outside my own backyard. College made me stop taking my countryside surroundings for granite, and opened up my eyes to just how green and gorgeous the area around my own home is. Sometimes you need a little extra push to make you realize all that you have been given in life (this is to be applied to anything, not just your surroundings). After all, that's what a happy life is all about...focusing on the positives in your life, not the negatives.

The other day I took an approx. 6 mile run around the roads (basically trails) that surround the road of which I live on. I began on a gravel road that was lined by gorgeous green trees and that follows the especially full, rushing creek that the rain has propelled this year. There are scant houses along the road, but rarely do I ever pass, or should I say am I ever passed, by a car (except for the mail lady in the morning :) ). I am left to run amidst the most peaceful of surroundings, listening to the birds and watching them fly from tree to tree, occasionally swooping over the running waters. I especially enjoy watching the bright red cardinals against the nicely contrasting backdrop of the new-green leaves, making me take deep breathes as I run.

As I reached the end of the road following the creek, I made a turn onto another gravel road that loops through field after field of grass, wheat, flowers, etc. This road is desolate as well. It is more open than the preceding road, and provides a nice change of scenery from shady, cool woods to sun-filled fields. After winding through this road for awhile, I made yet another turn onto a road that surrounded a peach orchard. While it is not yet peach season, I will definitely keep this road in mind for my runs when early August approaches. Running by all of the budding trees was gorgeous in itself, but it also brought back many memories of all the time I'd spent picking fruit with my family over my past summers. This change in scenery gave me many thoughts to think about, pleasantly distracting me from the actual running itself. I love when my mind travels off into its own world while I'm running. When I am able to do that, well, those are the best runs.

I decided to cut out of this road and loop back through the actual peach orchard to get back to the preceding road. As I was running through the rows of peach trees, I saw a deer timidly running in avoidance of my path. That's when it hit me just how lucky I am to be able to run amidst such tranquil, beautiful surroundings. Running right around nature, and the creatures that inhabit it, who could ask for better!? I ran back down the road that brought me to the peach orchard and then took a turn off onto another road. This road brought me to a quaint little bridge with chipping white paint that provided me a passage over another, smaller branch of the creek. This bridge finally brought me to a paved road, but there still ceased to be any cars. Shortly after, I turned around and ran back to the first road of which I started my run. After an hour (of which didn't seem nearly that long), I finally finished my run and I felt mentally, emotionally, and physically great! That's what I love about running...especially in such a pretty atmosphere. I couldn't ask for a better morning workout.

After the completion of my run, I backtracked a little ways on my running course and walked to a bridge towards the beginning of my course. On the bridge, I was able to lay down and cool down right above the cool-drafted creek. Perfect. The high you get from running is the best, and I try to always take a few minutes to relax and enjoy it.

I definitely want to bring my college outdoor club here so that they can enjoy this beautiful place with me. I also recently discovered a whole slew of trails that are just a 15 min. drive from my house! And if I ever get a running club going at my school (which I one day hope to), I'll be planning a trip for them to run on these roads alongside me. Any change in scenery for runners is great, especially a particularly pleasant change. All of these moments of which I am able to spend outdoors and just enjoy life make me happy, and I'm happy for all of the positive things that I have been given. Maybe take a few minutes to enjoy a positive aspect of your life that you might often over look. And like I always advocate, get outside and enjoy some fresh-air!

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