Running for pleasure

A fellow member of the Flying Irish, Speed Fitzhugh, recently described the long run he did. He’s not training for a marathon or any race in particular, and he’s not a high-mileage runner during the week, but he enjoys a long, easy run on the weekend that’s 20-30 miles long.

He once invited me to join him on a 30-miler. Unfortunately, I don’t have the stamina and durability to run that far, even at a slow pace without feeling wiped out for a couple days, or getting injured, or both.

But I like the concept of running purely for pleasure with no thought of maintaining a sustained brisk pace or preparing for a race.

I used to live in Ventura, California, and on Saturday mornings I’d run down to the pier near my apartment and get on a trail that ran north along the shore. It was only two miles out and two miles back, but the turnaround point overlooked a popular surfing area, and I sat on a rock and watched the surfers. Sometimes I spent more time sitting on the rock than I did running.surfing

(source: kidcyber.com.au)

In Spokane, there was a basalt outcropping that used to overlook downtown until it was developed into an office building. It was the turnaround point for a five-miler that also involved sitting on a rock. The tall buildings, with windows lit in the early evening, the passenger jets flying over on their final approach to the airport, and the dull roar from the bustle of an urban environment made a great scene depicting the excitement of city living.

Many times while traveling or visiting out-of-town friends or relatives, I’ve enjoyed running just to explore. Sometimes these turn into long runs because I’ll come to a neat area or road, and I want to explore more instead of turning back.

Maybe, my fellow runners, it’s the same for you – sometimes the highlight of my day is the run I did.

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