Reason #15

Posted on May 24, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

lily of valley

My friend Stephanie loves to run.  A poster listing 22 reasons why–hers specifically–has hung on a wall for a few years, no matter where her office has been.

Reason #15:  There’s no better way to explore a city or enjoy the spring flowers or fall leaves.

If I had my own poster, this would be on it.  I’ve been in State College, PA, visiting family.  Not only is State College, home of Penn State, a cool town all around, but the area it’s nestled in is incredible.  It’s been 13 years since I’ve experienced a spring in this part of the country, and although I thought I remembered how beautiful it is, apparently I’d forgotten.

Morning runs here have been spectacular.  Maybe a little dangerous, but spectacular nonetheless.  Trees grow much taller in Pennsylvania than in Texas.  During most of my first morning’s run my eyes were up, gazing at the towering trees rather than ahead watching for traffic, curbs, and road signs.

So what if I ran a couple miles farther than I planned. (Have they considered placing road signs in the trees for out-of-towners?)  And, thankfully, cars are apparently used to pedestrians cluelessly crossing the road when the big red hand is flashing.

I haven’t seen or smelled peonies, lily-of-the-valley, dogwood, or sumac in what seems like forever.  Nor have I seen an overabundance of cottontail rabbits congregating in yards and on roadsides.  And, of course, there are chipmunks too.

If I hadn’t run through the streets of State College I would have missed all these things. The sights. The smells.  The way the breeze feels against your cheek, on the nape of the neck.  I wouldn’t have seen the high school cross country team practicing, wouldn’t have noticed the architecture of the church set back from the road.  Wouldn’t have seen west campus and the row of old buildings turned into warehouses.

Nor would I have had the same conversations with my brother, who accompanied me a couple of mornings.  We ran the same path, past the warehouses, cottontails, and sumac, yet I can’t say that I saw them.  Our relationship was exposed in a different way, made possible, I believe, by the vulnerability running requires.

Maybe it’s time to write my own running love list.  I would start with Reason #1:  There’s no better way to experience lilac in spring and the company of a friend.

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2 Responses to “Reason #15”

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Sounds like you had a great time in Pennsylvania! Hope your next visit involves a side trip to Pittsburgh! Perhaps next year’s Pittsburgh Marathon? (yes, that is a hint!)

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PA rocks! Next time I plan to plan a trip to Pittsburgh–and perhaps the marathon. 🙂

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