Why I run

Running is a feast for the senses.

Lift your eyes off the ground for a second.

Take in the warm light of a late summer evening. Lose yourself in the endless blue sky, watch the few scattered clouds cruise lazily across it. Gaze over the calm sea, where a swan might be swimming or a flock of seagulls might be flying over a fishing boat.

Allow the lush forest around you to enchant you, painting a picture in all the colours of a spring palette. Notice the millions of white flowers at your feet, forming a snow-like carpet. See if you can spot some birds hiding in the trees, or, if you're really lucky, a young roe deer feeding not too far away.

Watch as your reflection on the still waters of a lake gets distorted by a fish flying off the surface. Observe how many different shades of green there are: on moss, on pine trees, on grass. Look at the upside-down image of the world inside a rain drop.

Silence. The world is still asleep. The only sound you can hear is your own breathing, your heart beating rhythmically as you run. But suddenly you become aware of the deafening song around you. Birds welcome the new day by serenading the sun, drunken on spring air.

Further in the forest, you can listen to the breeze in the trees, the rustle of leaves, the sway of the gentle tree limbs. In the distance, a dog is barking. Crickets lazily rub their bellies. Children are laughing. A small brook murmurs soothingly.

Run by the sea and let the rhythmic sway of the waves lull you. Listen to the rain drops as they fall on the surface. Hear the cry of the seagulls, as they soar in the air.

Take your shoes off, if you dare. Feel the ground under your feet, cold in the winter, warmed by the sun in the summer. Feel the soft pine needles, the sharper gravel. Experience how your feet sink in a muddy path and rinse them off in a puddle of water. Let some raindrops caress the bare skin on your arms, let the wind ruffle your hair, let snow flakes tickle your nose. Feel the breeze cool you down on a hot summer day.

Place your hand upon your chest and feel your heart beating fast after a tough running session.

Have you ever tasted the rain, or caught a snowflake with your tongue? 

Go for a long run in the summer. Try to just take one sip of cold water afterwards. It's impossible. Every drop of this cold water tastes like nectar. Likewise, a hot cup of tea after a run in the rain, or in a snowstorm. A bite of the most common fruit is elevated to a gourmet experience.

If you could close your eyes while you ran, your sense of smell would overwhelm you with stimuli. Flowers and trees release a multitude of scents so wonderful they put any manufactured perfume to shame. Pine needles in the spring, finally resurfacing after a long winter, conspire with the bark of fir trees to entice your nose with the promise of summer. 

The sea is also a temptress. She casts a salty spell to draw you nearer, and pulls you in with the tangy, bitter-sweet aroma of sea weeds.

When house owners rake the leaves from their yards and light a bonfire, the thick smoke can make it hard to breathe, but its dark fragrance is homely. Familiar. Warm. Its opposite is the smell of wet earth after a summer rain. It grounds you. It lifts your spirit. It renews you and makes you feel alive.

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