I was restless. I needed the endorphin rush. But more, I wanted some kind of permission to distance my brain from the world of Excel spreadsheets and high-pressure projects. For once this week, I didn’t want to actively think about anything. I just wanted to be.
I needed to mull over problems that are simmering just below the surface, yet present enough to unbalance my world. Or, if it so happened, I needed to be free to just not think at all. I craved the relief of the late-summer smell of Georgia. I wanted to sweat and I just wanted to fucking run.
I went to my spot. The paved trail is 99% flat, safe to run alone and it was still light out anyway.
I set out with a goal of 6 miles, but decided to go at an easy pace and listen to my body. Mile 1 felt really good and hit right at the 11 min mark. I smirked and thought “Yep, mission ‘turtle pace’ accomplished.” But I didn’t kick it up. I just cruised. At mile 2, something went funky with my Nike+ app and the lady-voice who announces the run stats cut off mid-summary. Not paying the glitch much attention, I kept running on auto and got lost in my music, my thoughts (or non-thoughts) and the setting sun against the trees.
After some time, I realized I hadn’t heard much from Nike Lady and looked down at my phone in the arm band – Whoa. I was at 4.5 miles! I guess she decided to stop telling me when I hit a mile marker after she bonked out on the word TWO.
Great. I knew I needed to turn around and head back to my car. I’d far surpassed the point at which it would have been a neat 3 out, 3 back and figured I’d probably hit a wall at 6 miles and have to walk the last bit.
So I turned around and went with it. I accepted the silence from the app and just ran. My thoughts weaved, ebbed, flowed and oozed. I didn’t pay attention to what was running around in my noggin. I just kept my breathing in check and my pace steady. I did a quick self-analysis and figured that I couldn’t have held a full conversation but I wasn’t dying either. But then, you know what happened? My music app stopped playing too, right in the middle of an Imagine Dragons song. The nerve.
But I went with that too. And without the pumping music or the competitive drive from the Nike lady, I could take in the frog chirps and cricket calls that I was previously drowning out. As I kept on my way, same pace, same mentality, I delighted in the fireflies that were coming out in the dusk. They twinkled in the distance on the edges of the path, the faintest of all starlight to shine my way back.
I finished out the run with a smile, all the way to my car and then went a little further… just to make it to a neat number.
It figures that when I finished, the Nike lady hollered out aggressively, “7.5 miles! 1 hour, 22 minutes and 3 seconds! Average pace,10:56 per mile!”
A grin cracked across my reddened face. Hardly speedy, Peach… but you did it.
As I was stretching my legs, leaning on my car, dripping with sweat but completely cleansed in mind, it hit me that yes, sometimes you just need to run. But other times the world gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.
Peace. Quiet. And freedom among the fireflies.
I’m taking my fireflies and putting them in a mason jar and heading over to the Moonshine Grid with Yeah Write. Come join me.