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Odes

Ode to Running, Particularly in the Rain

Running gives the best high ever. Admittedly, I don’t do anything else that gives a high (maybe caffeine), but man, running makes you feel good. Running is a great way to stay in shape. It requires a particular kind of shape to be in. There are plenty of people that are in excellent shape but not running shape. I once fell out of running shape and getting back was a long road that taught me some empathy. Once you get there though, running is so so good. You can run varying distances based on your comfort, ability, and attention span. I prefer to run 4 to 8 miles. Any shorter and I don’t feel I have gotten my workout. Any longer and it gets too long, boring, and time consuming. Thus 4 to 8 miles is a sweet spot for me. I can vary my pace based on how I am feeling (usually between 9 minute miles when slow or on rough terrain and 6 minute miles when I am really pushing a pace for the challenge). You can race if you want, or you can run on your own. I prefer the latter as I am not very competitive and like the alone time. Strangely, I seem to be getting more competitive with my times the less interested in racing I am. Coaching cross country has whipped me into shape, and running in a race doesn’t preclude me trying to run fast even if it is usually a personal challenge for me over a competition with others. When I do, I have recently been placing surprisingly high. You can move much further and see more things than if you were walking/hiking. You can use it to commute or as your thinking time. You can wander out on a run not knowing if you will go two miles or ten and not worry in either case. Running allows you to get out into nature, to take a tour of a new city, or to tread the familiar paths of home. You can run thoughtlessly in a fugue, think things through carefully in a meditation, or wander to music in a daydream. Running to the beat is a great way to keep yourself motivated and going. You can do this with whatever song pops you’re your head, or you can do it with a music player. When you run, you are in a much more powerful place because it is entirely powered by your muscles. You can choose terrain to suit your mood and ability. Running up increases the difficulty exponentially, but it also gives a greater sense of power and euphoria when you reach the top. Running down can put you into an exhilarating hyper-sensitive state that a friend once likened to having prescience. Running flat can let you get into the groove and cruise for miles and miles. Running causes your body to produce, or increase, endorphins which make you feel better. It improves your mental state while making sure you also are in better physical health, which in turn feeds back into healthy sanity. The raising of your body temperature can also help you to avoid or get over sickness. It can warm you up when you are threatened by low temperatures. You can run in any weather. The best is probably rain because your body temperature naturally goes up while running but rain brings your temperature back down so that you stay at a comfortable warmth the whole time. There are fewer people and noises when you are running in the rain, so it is more peaceful. The puddles and rain create new, interesting obstacles to wander around as you run, keeping your mind engaged. I also feel more powerful when I run in the rain. It is as if the energy from the rain transfers into my muscles and propels me forward.