A good friend of mine from yesteryears named Greg was a novice runner who used running as a way to beat his early teenage alcohol addiction. Greg was a brilliant journalism student at UCLA when we became roommates and friends and went on to write a New York Times best-selling book called Fat Land. When we ran together, it was at a pace where we could talk throughout the run. So on those slow run days in which I run solo which is mostly every day, I often think of Greg and even make pretend I am talking to him.
Then there is Dick, a brilliant businessman that looks and runs like an animal that when I feel like playing during the run, I think of Dick and beating on my chest as if he was there. And the list goes on of people I know and favorite race horses of mine that I imagine running next to me and at times I will even talk to these imaginary friends. Yes, I must look strange to others but who cares as everyone should have imaginary Friends.
College were some great years in my life as a runner. So I picture those wonderful years after a 5 to 10 mile run and breakfast with fellow runners after. I often buy small remembrances for my runs like my hipper bracelet of the past, just to have fun and remember what makes running so much fun.
Running in the outdoors requires one to adjust to the elements. Some love the hot summer weather or some the beauty of Fall and Spring and others, the freezing cold of winter invigorates them to run farther and faster.
Running in hot weather requires precaution especially as a senior runner to make sure one takes care of proper hydration. Best to stick to morning and early evenings rather than the hottest part of the day. I am not a lover of hot weather running although a nice run in the early morning or early evening is quite nice to get the sweat rolling. For me, I just need to pick the right times of the day as I prefer cooler weather.
I do not think I have meet a person that does not love to run in the Fall or Spring. Nothing more needs to be said.
Winter can be brutal. I love it. The colder, the better within reason. One problem is, serious runners do not hydrate enough being one sweats less in cold weather, but nevertheless, the water still leaves your body. Do not forget to drink and dress properly for cold weather if needed. Many dress more heavily than needed in cold weather and later as they get further into their runs, start peeling clothing layers.
Lastly, running in extreme weather like rain storms or snow storms and different kinds of nasty weather, I love it as it makes me feel special. While people are all nested in during a snow storm i love a nice long early evening run and then the aftermath of a hot shower and a good couple of brandies while sitting at the fireplace.
I have run during hurricanes and Asian typhoons and the worst conditions one can imagine and loved it. How about you?
My friend who was a classical musician, at the age of 53 was a single divorced man with an all grown-up son and had the true life of freedom. His name is Cotton Crowe. He was living out of his van at Coco beach, Florida. He also was an active duty military musician playing for the army field band that played at official engagements at the White House. Cotton, while living out of his Van was able to use the facilities at Patrick Airbase at Coco Beach Florida for showering and other essential needs. The Airbase was close to where he parked his Van. So here, he was living out of his van and running daily on the beach and playing his French Horn at early morning hours in the freedom of nature without a care in the world. He later went back to a more conventional lifestyle but he looks upon those years in his van as possibly his happiest years. So freedom is a state of mind in this writer’s opinion, and Cotton typifies it.
Most runners I know have the ability to live simple lives because they are able to simplify their needs as a result of running. I myself pay little to no attention to politics and things I have little or no control over and my evening meal on the hedonistic side are my favorite times of my day. I appreciate my family much more with my running dedication as it is a calming element. So whether you’re young or old or rich or poor, freedom is purely a personal mental state and running brings to one a true sense of freedom, in my experience as well as others i know who have a running addiction.
So remember if you’re struggling financially or with other aspects in your life that are not perfect, running is a natural drug that let’s one think much more clearly about what’s really important in one’s life.. And that’s what freedom is all about in this author’s opinion.