Just Running

Remember the times when running was as simple as putting on your shoes, stepping out the door and just run? I don't. Sure, I have done this in the past nine years since I started running but not as many times as I would have liked to. I have to actively recall these runs to remember the freedom just being out there yields. And this is something I want to change.

So yesterday, rather than gearing up as usual, I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my camera and just ran. Or so I thought. In hindsight bringing my camera was not a good idea as I started watching for appealing motifs the moment I got out of the door instead of focusing on my run. I had wanted to go easy as this was the first run in nine days and the first day I didn't sense any aching in my left heel. However, I got so excited by just running that I didn't pay any attention to my pace. I was well rested – my wife and kids are gone till Tuesday –, I had slept for more than eight hours, nobody was waiting for me at home and I didn't bring my phone. Awesome.

It was only 8:20 p.m. but dusk had already set in so I had better hurry up if I wanted to take some pictures. Big mistake as I was going out way too fast and not listening to my body, i.e. my aching heel. But meanwhile I was still having fun running in Volkspark Schöneberg, the place I started running in summer 2006. Since then running has become big in this park. Going there on a Sunday morning you can get the impression you're on a running court. More often than not I'm turned off by that, but hey – this is what running in a public space in a big city looks like. I don't think it's the best place for running free mostly because it's too small and the routing variations are somewhat limited. I do like the Western most part as it's less frequented and there are even some trail segments along the water. By the time I got there it was too dark to run down by the water, however. It was too dark for taking pictures, too. The cover image does convey a bit of the atmosphere. It's intentionally underexposed to better grasp the fading light.

Fall sunsets in Berlin can be quite stunning and last night's already cast a shadow of this next upcoming season. Meanwhile I'm looking forward to heading out to Grunewald again once my heel has fully recovered. The smell of barbecue paired with the sound of music and the loud talking of drunk teens on my way back clearly reminded of the reason why I prefer running on trails to running in the city: they're not accessible. At least not to people who prefer to shine through their socially unacceptable behavior. Sounds a bit hard, but sorry, no apologies. Out in the woods you'll meet only people who want to get away from the noise and of course: boars, raccoons, foxes (who want to get away from us humans).

Thinking about the purpose and takeaway of this run on my way home proved to be just that: nothing special. But in a good way, allowing myself to connect with where I'm at, this very moment – here and now. And even though I didn't know then this has been the very reason I started running. Just running is what I'm really looking forward to. I'll turn things around by running occasionally with a monitor rather than occasionally without one. For a data geek like myself this won't be easy but I know it will benefit my running on a deeper level. One which is indispensable when running beyond my own limits.

Paul

A runner not a racer. Father of sons, change manager.

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