Early evening runs, where I go out and run at a nice, relaxing, pace for half an hour to an hour or more, are just heaven!
Most folks work during the daytime, and morning runs are a perfect meditation for the upcoming events of the day ahead. For me, those early evening runs, when the sun is going down while I take my last long strides, are what elevate my mind out of the humdrum of the day and bring me to a higher, happier, mindset.
When I lived on the beach in California, after my evening ten miler from the Venice Beach Boardwalk to Santa Monica–five miles there and five miles back– it was my habit to always follow my run with a cool down on the beach, breathing deeply of the wonderful sea air. Nowadays, living as I do in the mountains of Baguio City in the Philippines, it is breath-taking vistas of trees and more trees, luxuriating in the perfect climate that is the hallmark of my post-run cool down. I feel so filled with wonder, so blessed, that when my run is finished, I can be here admiring nature’s beauty.
After my evening run I am relaxed, and hopefully I can have nothing more strenuous than leisure time to look forward to for the rest of the evening. Many runners I know, like myself, have post-run rituals that we indulge in as we reflect on our lives and savor the last of our running meditation. I love taking a long hot shower.
I enjoy stretching in the shower or getting down on my knees, just to appreciate life and to remind myself not to take life for granted. It is not a religious act, being on my knees, but part of a ritual encompassing the daily cycle of life.
Running, in my opinion, creates a positive domino effect on life. If we run, then we care about our diet. If we are relaxed as a result of running, then we are better parents and better people. Okay, I know I am being a little “preachy” and idealistic here, but I believe that there are many positive results that can be achieved directly because of our addiction to running! When one’s health is good–thanks to running–then most all else takes a back seat; because one feels good – – great even – – and life’s difficulties are easier to handle.
At the end of the run, and after the rituals which follow it, it is my habit to enjoy a few alcoholic beverages of choice. I think of it as my reward for a run and meditation well done and well enjoyed. Indulging in a few drinks is not the reward of choice for everyone–we each have personal preferences as to what we consider a reward. My reward is a few vodka tonics, or a few glasses of wine, served together with a delectable array of appetizers and, if possible, good company as well. Others may consider their reward a great cigar, or a healthy meal. Irregardless of what constitutes an individual’s idea of a reward, each of us deserves that indulgence because we worked for these rewards with our running.
What a great, healthy, life, both mentally and physically, we have that to attribute to our positive addiction to running!
Best of health,