When I run I always learn something. Sometimes it is about the terrain or the location where I am running. Often, running is an exercise in gaining mental clarity while simultaneously eliminating stress. Frequently I discover something new about the capabilities and/or limits of my physical body. Knowledge gained by exertion, exploration and endurance. Good stuff.
Many of my favorite vacation moments in the past 20 years or so, involve running. This past week on the Cape, I have literally run the full gamut. Gentle runs on sandy roads, excruciating uphill runs, exceedingly short sprints to catch high tide and leap from a bridge. As I ran today, I admired the view with sincerity, counted my blessings with gratitude, and listened to the internal symphony of my body as the aches and minor pains came together musically. A more pessimistic person, might describe it as a cacophony, but, you know me, optimistic to the end -and that's despite my iPod's battery quitting .5 mile into my run.
Already this year, I've run gazing out on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. I've run in the desert and the-feels-like-desert of Albany in a spectacularly hot and beautiful July. I've run in mountains and on an island. I've experienced locations both new and old to me in a completely different manner because my feet have been touching the ground rather than the gas and brake pedals. Running is an amazing way to explore and become acquainted with one's surroundings. There's an incredible amount of freedom in running - it's your own pace, your own route, your own adventure. How can you fail to notice your surroundings when you're literally making physical, rhythmic contact over a distance of miles?
Running, or walking, is often the least expensive, most effective means of expanding one's knowledge of both the internal and the external. That's an exercise I hope to never grow tired of.