Once upon a time (back in high school, 10+ years ago) you could say I was a long distance runner. I was likely in my peak physical condition and for the most part healthy, only having to battle some issues with my shins. After high school, I grew apart from running, but remained active by cycling and hiking local trails.
Shortly after starting a new job earlier this year, a company-wide email with information about the Akron Marathon was sent to all employees. As I scrolled through and skimmed the info, one detail that caught my eye was that the company will cover the cost of registration for anyone interested in running. The gears in my brain began turning!
I immediately reached out to my marathon running group of best friends to see if they thought I could complete the half marathon. They said YES! I took the plunge by registering, bought a new pair of running shoes and started working on getting in shape. A few months of training are in the books and now I have only a few weeks until the race. Luckily, my goal is to complete the race, so the only person I’m up against is myself.
The point of this post is to share one of my favorite parts of this entire experience so far with you. Of course I’m feeling better, eating healthier and maybe even shedding a few pounds, but something all of this running has done for me is connected me to my outdoor surroundings via local trails and metro parks. I’ve seen all sorts of animals, insects, plants, streams and wildflowers. I’ve ran on paved trails, dirt trails, sidewalks and streets. I’ve ran through neighborhoods, prairies, bogs, forests and a national park.
Here are some photos of the places I’ve been. Experiencing just about any location on foot will definitely expose you to your surroundings and help you appreciate everything that’s out there. I urge you to get out and see some new places. You just might get a little exercise in, too…