More times than not, I run alone. I have nothing against people. I have nothing against runners that prefer miles with a buddy or their running club. Actually, I’m married to one. I just happen to go solo most times, and usual quite enjoy.
My run this morning demonstrates a few reasons why.
As I debate whether a short run is in the cards, our elderly dog, Herbie, is whining incessantly for no apparent reason (bless his soul). My oldest son, Sam, is quite vocal about his dislike of his bro, Daniel, sitting upon his head. A brotherly battle is likely about to erupt. Seems like a perfect time to duck out for four miles of peace, right? Running by my lonesome requires little planning. This time of year, I can be out the door in less than two minutes. My escape is complete.
Confession. I have a longstanding bird phobia. Chased and nipped at by a goose…check. Dive-bombed frequently by a weird Australian-breed of bird, including multiple blows to the head…check. Laughed at hysterically by wife while “courageously” shooing nesting robin from garage…check.
A little over a mile into my run, I notice a strange sight on the trail ahead. Upon closer inspection…oh dear God…a dozen wild turkeys! My first instinct, given said phobia, is to flee and alter my route – “no biggie, nobody needs to know about this.” Then I think, “Wait, you didn’t put on big boy running shorts a few minutes ago to let a bunch of turkeys change your plans.” Damn right! It’s suddenly a game of chicken and the turkeys lose. I gobble at them, puff my chest out with pride, and run on. A courageous soul on a pleasantly lonely trail. My test of bravery is complete.
I reach the turnaround point a little more than two miles from home still mightly impressed by my victory. For no good reason, tree branches canopying the trail begin to tempt me. They are just high enough. Just begging me to jeopardize injury for a moment of silent glory. After debating for a half-mile whether this is a wise decision, I lock my gaze on a dangling branch yards ahead. I jump and whiff in embarrassing fashion. This will not be my destiny! Another branch is decorating the horizon at just the right height. I leap… The glazing contact with that crispy leaf brings an instant smile. A round of high-fives with cheering shrubs and fanatic fence posts ensues. My test of athleticism is complete.
As I push hard through the last mile, a vocal gaggle of geese kindly encourage me from above. Maybe birds aren’t so bad after all.
Upon reentering the house, my younger’s bum is still glued to my older’s head as they glare at an iPad. Herbie is snoring next to them. Their demeanor has changed and so has mine. Though we are in the same spot, we are all in a far better spot than before I ran.
I escaped. I faced a phobia. I didn’t pull a hammy. All because I ran alone today.
Do you usually run alone or with others? Why? Good stories are always welcome 🙂 Please share!