A little dirt under the feet
I can see the attraction to the “running in the woods” thing.
Just outside the doors to our apartment tower is Greenbelt National Park. I mean, right outside. Like 20 feet, you’re in the woods.
It’s remarkable because, for someone who is used to metropolitan areas, in the midst of the nation’s capital and its proximal urban neighbor—Baltimore, finding an alcove of green in the gray is quite a thing. I never would have imagined that after traveling through the better part of the South, on my way from Texas to Washington, D.C., I’d land a spot that could give me unrestricted access to creation.
Moreover, with trails, streams and paths abound, it’s a wonderful way to sweat out the miles on my trek to fitness.
I put on my Army physical fitness uniform—a gray shirt with black “Army” lettering and black shorts, and take the elevator down to my start point. My roommate ribs me a bit about the uniform and says I should get regular workout clothes. I do feel a little out of place when I meander past the people in the lobby.
After a few minutes of warming up, I start. I’ve not run often on trails. I did ride my bicycle all over the base I grew up on in southern Maryland. So I was used to taking less-traveled roads and paths and watching the leaves and birdsong pass by.
The mild acrobatics of trail running is altogether different. I haven’t started mapping out the distances covered just yet. I will need to in order to pass my Army fitness tests, but for the moment I’m content with learning to leap, jump and navigate this this sort of dance with the trails.
“You’ll twist your ankle fast out there,” my roommate warned.
He was right. The roots, gravel, and dips and twists of the paths could easily wretch feet the wrong way.
But with a little caution, the pad-pad-pad sounds from careful stepping soon blends into this sort of rhythm; and the smells and breathing of the forest breeze melts away the normal dread of “having to run.”
I regard running as one of the most unpleasant exercises known to man, but you’ve found the best way to do it. Involving the mind in that “gotta watch and plan my next steps so I don’t break my leg” makes for far more interesting running. Even better, running through the woods, downhill.
Yeah I’m not a huge fan. Of course, I guess most people aren’t a “fan” of exercise. It’s just natural to have an aversion to pain and exhaustion. But, we do feel better after spending some time at it, so I suppose it’s all for the best.
Buy some damn civilian workout clothes. Or I will continue heckling you from the balcony. As will the girl friend. And Murphy.