“Tonight I will leave work and just run.
No excuses, no procrastination.”
This was my internal mantra thoughout my working day. And is exactly what I did.
I found it so beautiful I wished I had a camera to capture and share the magical moments. However, my running rule prohibits me from carrying my iPhone to allow me to “switch off” and get more out of the physical exercise experience. Instead I will create a picture, not of pixels, but of words…
I change from my office attire into exercise attire. This process is slower than it should be as I have a dog who knows my outfits. The initial selection of exercise attire brings hope to his face and soul. But the true telling is all in the shoes I select.
I ask him “which shoes, Bundy?” He nearly loses the plot with sheer joy, rushing to my walk-in robe, enthusiastically nose-nudging my runners off the top of the pile of shoe boxes onto the floor with loud “verbal” exclaimations of unrestrained excitement. It’s a “dog day” and he knows it.
It takes over 10 minutes to get my shoes on as I have to contend with 30kg of shouting, bouncing, over-excited canine.
We leave the warmth of my little house, the cool, crisp air penetrating rudely to the core of my being as we step onto the street.
The first 1km or so are pure torture. The wind is still yet my forward movement makes the cold air rush at me and bite hatefully into my skin. My legs are leaden, my heart-rate unenthusiastic and my mind becomes my enemy.
We leave the hectic, traffic laden street in favour of the serene, natural reserve with her meandering creek and towering native gum trees.
I ignore my the taunts of my mental enemy and shut her down. Instead I focus on the “now” by mentally reciting the things I see and hear. Dog, gum tree, path, birds calling their end of day cheerios, green, yellow, purple, distant traffic. No analysis or judgment, just words. A sense of inner calm and peace envelop me like a warm quilt at bedtime.
My core temperature gradually builds. The hateful cold reverts to a welcome, soothing breeze for my now warm skin.
I am lower in the small valley with just my dog and a slow, burbling creek to keep me company. The sun has commenced her farewell journey, dropping down behind the houses on the hills that surround me. It is that strange time, just prior to dusk, when the cold winter light morphs the colour palette.
The foliage becomes a deeper green, heading toward the inky black it will eventually become in the absence of light. Purple flowers randomly scattered become almost iridescent against their backdrop. The smooth silver bark of the ghost gums live up to their name appearing spectral in their tall magnificence.
I glance across the wetlands, barely noticing the added resistance of the small incline, as I am struck by the mystique of the last muted rays of stubborn sunlight filtering through the houses and trees. The light captures the yellow wattle blossom turning it to a luminescent, golden glow against a back drop of piercing green leaves. It fleetingly occurs to me that this why Aussie Olympians are dressed in green and gold.
I continue in my meditative state – timeless, effortless and peacefully in the moment – until the 5km mark.
As I walk my post-run-recovery my temperature drops, the air begins to bite again but I don’t mind so much. Endorphins have provided me with a euphoria that can’t be purchased.
I commence my way up the final hill, in true dusk now, as the sun has now bid us farewell and the enchanting luminosity has faded. All I can see in the dim light are the ghostly gums and the white, furry, tip of my dogs tail – bouncing happily before me like a cotton-tail rabbit.
All I can hear are soft, rhythmic footfalls.