Variety is the spice of life. Cliche, cliche, I know but most everything is better with a touch of seasoning. In running, there are those paths that I go to time and time again. Routes that offer predictable mileage, scenery, and a reasonable expectation of safety. Sometimes it's all I want to just go on auto pilot, to use my energy to work something out instead of working to forge ahead. As I have upped by ante and started to run more each week -- I find myself seeking out the new in an effort to keep things fresh, to challenge myself, to combat staleness.
Last night I met up with my running buddy and we headed out on just such a run -- I had to make a stop in Highland Park, which took both of us out of our normal zones. I have run around the reservoir a few times but have never done anything more significant. The darkness fell early on, as it seems to do these days which added another layer of mystery. We headed down the road next to the zoo, hoping to catch a glimpse of some exotic animals, which were not able to do but we did catch quite a few whiffs. At the bottom of the hill we decided to snake around to Washington Blvd so as not to backtrack -- the only problem was getting to Washington Blvd on a pedestrian unfriendly stretch. We managed with some strategic darting and weaving through the weeds. Relatively unscathed we continued, running through grassy fields, dodging tree branches until we made to some semblance of a sidewalk and ran back into civilization.
As adults we so rarely get or make time for play, and when we do it's usually the more structured type, a softball league, Pilate's class, a circuit at the gym. Rarely do we gather our friends for a game of 'it' tag or strap on roller skates and skate up and down the street just for the sheer joy of it. Sure, there is still joy to be found in structured activities, but the fun that comes from following a whim, heading out without a destination connects to a deeper place. Playing every once in a while keeps things fresh and in the depths of training - 'it' tag anyone?