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.

The Escape

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.

The Adventure

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.

The Return

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!

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8 thoughts on “Why I run alone

  1. Yup, I’m a loner. For a lot of reasons. Namely, I don’t know how far I can go when I step outside the door, I usually decide on the fly because of my asthma. That, and I don’t want to have to match pace with someone else, I have to run on my own time, and it allows me thinking time.

    1. Running is my time, its time to enjoy the new day and the sunrise that we’ve been given, time to let steam blow from morning politics at the office, and at the end of the day its time to decompress, reflect and plan for another tomorrow. Once those headphones go in, my route app started and my playlist queued, nothing else matters. The canter of my feet below me, the background noises of the world faded out by music, breath and mind; I’m free!

  2. I never cared to converse while running nor did I find it relaxing to guess what my running buddy was thinking. Too slow? Too fast? Go further? I really want to peak inside that house that’s being built, I gotta poop and there is no bathroom out here, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, im happy to run aside a troubled mind, but the usual sports talk, job problems, money issues, take energy from me. Not that it has to be a Zen experience, but nothing beats just appreciating nature while running and letting my senses entertain. Smoke from a campfire, smell of wild flowers, leaves, swamp gas, a passing bicyclist wearing a familiar smell, or whatever-all conjure emotions that make running so enjoyable

  3. I nearly always run alone and I really enjoy it. It’s my time to escape from the house, job life, whatever and clear my head. It’s like you said, nothing may have changed when you return from your run but you feel entirely different, in a good way! It calms me, centres me, settles me…keeps me sane I guess 🙂 and I love it.

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