Today’s run was a joyous affirmation of the sensory delights of being alive and experiencing at first hand the richness of the Devon landscape, that I am lucky enough to live in. After an overnight torrent of rainfall, I opted for a largely lane based route to avoid the inevitable sticky mud that evolves remarkably quickly down on the popular, off road, riverside “home” 5k round, which has featured in most of my running over the years.
As I headed out, dark, rain bearing cloud scudded rapidly eastward revealing a crystal blue sky and a warm sun, which was a relief on the first morning of cooler Autumn air that I have experienced this year. Low in the blue, its light glanced through the towering limbs of a leviathan roadside beech as I gazed upward in awe at this monstrous form……….the largest and most majestic life form that I will witness today.
The wheat fields are now golden stubble and the dead, antler like prongs protruding from the still green crown of a hedgerow oak bear testimony to the fact that it has been encroached upon too tightly by cycles of ploughing, planting, spraying and harvesting……...but still it fights on for survival.
The gentle autumnal chatter of the songbirds, preparing for a coming winter, will be replaced, come the Spring, with the incessant chorus that fills the air with the urgent rejoicing of their drive to perpetuate their own cycles of life.
It was deliberately a gentle run, to preserve my gently ebbing energy reserves and I was repaid a thousandfold with glorious views across the valley landscape that I am so familiar with, through all the seasons, which I could drink in, rather than just glimpse, had I been pushing hard. I had a chuckle to myself when, on a downhill section, I felt a very slight twinge from my left knee and realised that my precautionary knee brace was on my right leg……...the wrong leg. No disasters ensued.
Nearing the end of the run, an ominous grey, blue bank of cloud filled the Western sky and a bejewelled rainbow arced spectacularly across it. The sycamore leaves rustled in the lifting breeze and a mist of drizzle fell lazily through the sunlight, then became cooling spots of rain as it intensified.
The other reward for my gentle pace was that after I completed the planned 5k, I managed to continue just a couple of hundred metres up quite a steep hill and stopped running at the landmark of the welcoming bench by the side of the path……..the furthest I have managed up this hill this year and a small personal victory.
I could have gone to the gym this morning and ran 5k on a machine in the testosterone laden air and the tasteful lighting, with numbers and stats to occupy my brain and the ultimate satisfaction of just surviving, what to me is, mind numbing monotony. Treadmills are great if they satisfy you, but would I exchange my run in the glorious green countryside for the gym alternative?……...no, not in a million years.
Feeling at one with nature, with no tech, no music to distract me from its glory, allowing all my senses to be filled to the brim with the wonderful world that we are all a part of, warm sun on my back, wind in my hair, rain running down my shoulder blades, is why I run and why I will continue to run .............for as long as I possibly can.
Keep running keep smiling.