Staying at my parents’ farm over a recent holiday, I did everything I could to put off a run. I talked my son into doing a HIIT workout. I talked my husband and my mom into going for walks. I theorized that Black Friday shopping got me plenty of steps. See, running the gravel roads hurts my knees and the drivers go WAY too fast for safety. Running the fields is risky because of the variety of bogies ranging from gopher holes to cow pies. Running the orchard can mean stepping in rotten fruit or hitting low branches. Running anywhere on the farm is an exercise in creativity to find a path that will get a decent amount of distance without endangering my ankles.
What a whiner.
So after the 12th round of eating too much and trying to avoid arguments over politics, I put on my big girl pants and laced up my shoes.
When I finally headed out into the road, I had talked myself into having a decent run. I told myself it was going to help me stop feeling guilty about not running and that it would help me handle the holiday stress.
I inhaled a big breath of fresh farm air, plugged in some 80’s rock, plastered a smile on my face and actively looked for beauty in the Iowa farmland.
With an open mind and open heart, I was struck by the memories tied with running on the farm. Jogging the gravel road brought memories of breaking in a lab puppy and weekend training runs for high school track. Trekking through fields yielded memories of eating cookies on a break while walking beans and of sledding those steep hills after a big snowfall. Running through the orchard prompted memories of blossom-laden branches, picking cherries in gallon buckets and using the apple picker to gather enough fruit for a pie.
Not so bad.
I looked over at my running partner and could see that she agreed. My 100-pound German Shepherd was fairly galloping with glee - chasing squirrels, terrorizing birds and treeing cats.
Sometimes when you need an attitude adjustment, you just need to quit whining, stop procrastinating and lace up your shoes before you change your mind. Sometimes it’s about framing - instead of running because you feel guilty or you have to, try running for the joy of it. If you look for it, you will find it.
I did, and a four-mile run prompted by guilt and stress turned into its own kind of a rave run. It doesn’t have the amazing beauty of the Black Hills, the emerald charm of the Emerald Isle, or the stunning ruggedness of western Montana, but heading down the gravel road, the field tracks and the orchard path showed me that memory lane can be a run for joy if you let it.