I’m not a fan of treadmills. First they scare me. Anything with a revolving conveyor belt that can accelerate at extremely fast speeds is just a recipe for disaster. I am way too competitive. Like this one time when I had a great pace going and the chic next to me starting inclining and raising her speed, well of course I had to keep up. I was so inclined it was like I was running up Mt. Everest.
It was all good until a giant boulder made its way towards me. Unbeknownst to me, my water bottle lost its position on the mega incline and went under foot. Needles to say little Ms. Competitive went flying into the elliptical machines. It was just all very bad. It went way too wrong.
That was then and now I prefer to let nature provide the incline. When I travel off the beaten path I find gems such as these. 105 to be exact. I will climb and incline. If I fall I only land in the river. No big deal, I will just turn around and swim.
It fares much better then getting catapulted into an elliptical machine while plastic surgery man drops beads of sweat on me. He was so botoxed up he didn’t even realize he had a women entangled around his machine. Don’t blink, you might miss a flying woman. This man gave eyes wide open a whole other meaning. Umm, help me sir!
Really. I am over that catastrophe. Really, I am. Anyways, the farther in I go the more picturesque the scenery gets. The sun is shining bright, Spring is chirping in the air and the last bits of snow are slowing melting away. It’s a natural obstacle that forces me to hop, jump and skip over the ice. It’s my own rendition of Happy Feet without the penguin waddle. Some might beg to differ but I had the whole playground to myself so no judgments forwarded.
I love this route. It does present a few obstacles such as the slippery slope and raging river below. But best not just peer what lies beneath as overhead can be majestically dangerous as well. With their stunning beauty they could also cause severe injury. Therefore, I veer closer to the slope than completely beneath these beautifully crafted ice sculptures.
Perhaps by this time of the year we are all a little sick of the cool temps and snow. But having the four seasons never allows my runs to get monotonous. Even if I travel the same path, everyday it looks different. Everyday I notice something different. The sounds are different. The smell is different. The people passing by are different.
The variety is the key that a treadmill in a basement or gym could not compete with. Each foot in front of the other creates its own symphony. So much so that I want to trade in the air buds. It is nice to have that iPod strapped tight to my arm while listening to my favorite running music. Yet, my footsteps and Mother Nature provide the most upbeat yet tranquil sounds that soothe my soul and rev my engine. Plus Mother Nature’s downloads are free.
The babbling creek is one of my favorites. It’s powerful but calming all in the same. I seem to run at a faster pace trying to keep up with it. I get lost in the sound and do not even realize I’ve accelerated. At one point on the path, I have to depart with it. Some days I just run through it. Like a farewell defeat. Other days, I carefully use the rocks that hinder its flow.
It reminds me of life. How some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Using the creek’s hinders to relate to our own. One step at a time trying to carefully plan our crossing. Then there are those days we choose to not care. We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. We may have a cleaner crossing one day and a messy one the next. Yet, when we depart from the rhythm of the flow, we still end up in the same place and continue to move forward.
I venture off the beaten path to gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer my fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. It’s my personal playground, void of some responsibilities. The place where I am cradled by Mother Nature. Wrapped tightly in her arms. The place where a mother can regroup and recharge. The place I prefer over any machine. My zone. Mommy’s Playground.
It is wide open out there. The hardest part is starting. But when you finish, you will be renewed. Breathe it in, take it in and stimulate your senses. Break a little sweat, get dirty, run hard and play.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” – Benjamin Franklin
So what do you prefer? Do you venture off the beaten path or stay on the guided trail? Do you prefer to get your thrill ride via a machine?