Monday, June 4, 2012

What a Kid Wants (What Adults Often Fear)

Have you ever had the insatiable desire to run? I don't mean that feeling of "Oh God, I've eaten too many chips and chocolate bars this week. I need to hit the gym, now!" I mean those spurts of energy your body gives you where you feel the need to sprint as fast as you can for as long as you can!

I love watching little kids race. It seems like they're always wanting to just run somewhere, and get there as fast as possible. A little boy might turn to his friend on the playground and spontaneously shout, "Race you to the fence post!" The two would take off like tornadoes through the grass with complete disregard for any opposition the parents might display about such "dangerous" behavior.

But I say, You go for it, kids!

I ran cross country in high school my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year. I was never very competitive, but I enjoyed running and staying in shape. We'd run three to five miles on an average day, sometimes between seven or eight miles. I always loved running. I loved the steady rhythm my body would get into as my feet brushed the pavement. But when race day came, there was only part of the race that was fun- the finish. Why? Because that's when you would sprint with every ounce of energy in your tired body to beat the girl beside you and cross that finish line one standing place higher if you could make the cut. That's what was fun.

I'm thinking about this right now because I experienced that feeling tonight for the first time in a long time. I was working out early in the evening and had taken a break for dinner. Once my food got settled, I went outside to relax a bit in the evening air. The sunset was looking beautiful and the weather was refreshing. I was still wearing my running shorts, tennis shoes, and workout jacket when the feeling hit. All of the sudden, I was energized. Electrified. I needed to run, and I needed to see how fast I could run. I made a loop around the property, cutting close to the field, running out by the blackberry fence row, around the back side of my grandmother's barn, across the driveway, down the back stretch! I saw the field again and increased my speed, pushed my limits, and hollered for my cat to come join me (as he sat apathetically beside the swings licking his nose and staring at me). I blew past him and began slowing down, catching my breath, and then walked back to the maple tree.

It was fun.

I hadn't experienced the sensation of running for fun in years. My running has always been motivated by a desire to stay in shape or to relieve stress. And it works well for both! But I'm glad that I got that feeling tonight. Perhaps the enthusiasm I felt can't quite be conveyed here, but if you've never experienced that, reader, then I leave you with this:

If you ever get that spurt of energy, that absolutely insatiable necessity to feel the wind blow past you while you sprint, don't suppress it. I don't care if you're in a shopping mall! Security might hassle you a bit, but to hell with them. You're just exercising your right to exercise ;)

Running for the fun of it is often the activity of small children who haven't any back problems, knee issues, or bone deterioration. BUT. There's something about those little spurts of adrenaline that I think everyone wants or has at least experienced once in life. It's one of the small pleasures, of course. One of the little things that makes people happy. I wouldn't call it a good day if my car broke down, my insurance dropped me, and then, oh, I had a spurt of of energy so I ran a hundred yards. But you get the idea.

Run for fun. It's fun for one. Once and you're done. Go be happy.

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