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I told my trainer I wanted to train for a 5k again. I trained in the fall but wasn’t able to run the 5k I signed up for. Running is hard when you have pneumonia. She was excited because she’s also training for a 5k.

I asked her advice because I did the Couch to 5k training plan last time where you alternate walking and running until you’re able to run for half an hour. I’m now running 30 to 40 minutes nonstop three to four times a week.

She suggested running outside. There would be different elements, like the elements, ground would be different. She told me to start with a mile, even if I felt I could do more, just do a mile first. Every week I’m going to add distance until I’m running a 5k outside. I’ll still be doing my HIIT on the treadmill.

So Sunday I went outside. I live in the country with country roads which sounds peaceful and tranquil. Usually it is unless there are cars, trucks, or semis that think there’s no speed limit. There’s gravel on either side of the road and steep drop off to the rain ditches. I was excited to get started on uneven ground. Sand would be nothing.

It was amazing. Part of the bliss stemmed from having fallen in love with running. I love the physical state of running, the moving meditation. I also love being outside, surrounded by nature and fresh air. We have no wind blocks so wind can get vicious. It cross cut me, but it was refreshing.

On the treadmill my feet plod a hollow thump on the track. I loved the softer whisper of the stones moving.

I expected passing vehicles to honk and dramatically swing into the other lane. While I appreciate the wide birth, it also annoys me. I’m already balancing on the 45 degree incline. I’m several feet from the road. If I fall I’m not suddenly going to vault 7 feet to my right into traffic. Several swung wide, but nobody honked. Nobody felt hostile which I appreciated.

I think it also helped I looked like a runner. I was in a sweatshirt, sweatpants and running on the side of the road, not marching the 20 minute walk into town to the gas station because my car ran out of gas.

I’ve run a couple of times outside now and it’s been really nice. I feel like a runner. I run inside and outside. I do different routines. I have an endurance program and a HIIT program. My stress relief and moving meditation can take place outside of the gym, which is a very freeing feeling.