Heavy breath. Stomp, stomp, breath... stomp, stomp, breath...
No choice, press on, go.
Flee, flight, fantasy.
Your spirit flees, your heart races. Your body endures, your mind perseveres.
For some reason I can't do short bursts of exercise. I get antsy, bored, agitated. To me, there's no glory in picking up weights, doing sets, racing in loops, or playing periods. I'm crazy. I need to be out for hours, just going and going. Pushing and pushing. Further and further...then back.
A half hour feels like nothing.
Two hours feels like everything.
Time, commitment. With long distance I can completely relieve tension, frustration and stress in my mind. I can physically feel it lift from my body. Up and out of my self. Replacing it - fresh, oxidized blood rejuvenating every part of my body and creating space in my mind. Space for positivity, possibility. A new idea.
It's my spirit.
I become a floating, listless casting. A costume. My body endures the physical movements, but my spirit gets to float just above the pavement. I get to tumble in the air and meet my body at the end. Combining back into one. Refreshed. Tired. Sore. Complete.
The best place to run to experience this blissful, spiritual running is in quiet, natural pathways. Long stretches of road or twisting trails of pines. Where the road seems endless but the spirit yearns for more. Where you think you won't make it, but you muster enough to surprise yourself. Obviously, this embodies Door County, one of my favorite places to run.
Into the Woods - Exploring Peninsula State Park Trails with Speed
Running through the woods is exhilarating. It's different from anything else. Watching your step, on your toes, stopping, starting, mud. Slip, skip. Grab, balance, continue.
Here you run slower. Here you run with mindfulness. It's not about time, it's about agility. Stability. Energy.
To run in Peninsula State Park is like running in a different world. The lush greens of the forest have a vibrancy that is overwhelming. The soft ground of the dirt path feels comfortable and composed. It makes for platform for exploration. It absorbs each step, taking away the friction and giving back support. Soft on the knees, livening for the mind. The path offers flexibility to change your direction, pace, view. You're more alert, more fixed. In here, you're taking more direction out of your surroundings than yourself. The spirit you can embody in the woods is lively, bright, and fierce.
Dirt on your feet, sweet on your face, a run through Peninsula's trails gives you a heightened awareness of your surroundings, the environment that enriches life. Going quickly along the path forces your mind to focus and take in only the most important, most vivid images. Survival, to stay upright. Exploration, to stay curious. You'll trip, you'll flee, you'll fly. You'll emerge a little dirty, a little sweaty, and Alive.
On the Pavement - Take Settlement/Old Stage Road - 8.75 miles
(if you want a loop, start in Ephraim and take Settlement Road east, follow it as it turns into Old Stage Road and turn left until Plateau Road; take another left on Woodcrest Road and follow this until you're looped back to Old Stage Road, take a right and head west back towards Ephraim, Approx. 10K)
Running on the long country roads. Completely mindless. Gaze into the fields of light tans, greens, and lavender. Blue skies blending together with the water. Everything meshing like a swipe of a paintbrush. And you, running through it. A moving work of art around you, a whole other place. Running and running as the colors change, the environment changes, you change. So long you run your Self, changes. Weight is lifted, mind is clear. Veins are rejuvenated. Lungs are pumping. Heart is bursting. Done. Breath. Calm.
Running on the road in Door County gives you added freedom you may not get at home. Unless you're lucky enough to live on quiet, country roads, these paths will be a treat. Long and open, you'll see a few cars at most. This road offers gentle hills as you cross over the width of the Peninsula.
Running long distance puts you in the elements for just long enough to find peace in the run. When you finally rid of the thoughts that crowd your mind from the everyday jive, you open up, creating space for nothingness. For your surroundings, the watercolor of blues, purples, green and tans. You could roll through every emotion, yet end the run in peace. This is one of my favorite parts about long distances. In the end, you're left with nothing but You, your Spirit. You've left everything else out on the road.
Pure, exalting sensation of giving it everything you have. Going and going and not looking back. Feeling your feet bounce of the pavement and push you further and further.
When you're done, run right to the beach, crash into the water. Breathe.