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I’ve added running outside to my regular fitness regime to train for a 5K. I’ve really been enjoying it– the nature, the different feel to the run, the different style of moving meditation.

I’m conditioning myself right now so I’m focusing on distance and getting used to running outside. I sprint during my HIIT routine which I do on the treadmill. My trainer said I could try HIIT outside since I’m enjoying outside. I wouldn’t time it as much as focus on feel and distance. I told her I’d keep the sprinting inside on my safe, even surfaced treadmill.

The other day I was on the homestretch of my run. I saw my house. My mailbox was just a couple of hundred feet ahead of me. Something said, “Sprint. Just try it.”

I’m not a sprinter. I’ve never identified as a sprinter. I’ve never identified as fast which is one of the reasons I didn’t like running growing up. Whether it was in PE or soccer, I didn’t like being one of the last ones. In soccer if you had the ball I’d chase you down and get the ball. I’ve come to enjoy sprinting because of my HIIT routine. I have been pushing myself, getting the speed faster than I feel safe, but still there’s a wisp of caution.

I focused ahead. Just focus on the mailbox. I felt the mechanics of the sprint in a different way than I have on the treadmill. It felt more powerful outdoors. I felt this power emerging from me, like my body shifting gears or unleashing. I was much more aware of my arms working, coming forward, elbowing back. Felt my hands grab the air. I got faster quicker.

I got to my fastest state of moving quicker outside on the gravel brink of a rain ditch than on my even surfaced treadmill, jabbing a numerical speed. I was faster than I thought I was. I was more powerful than I thought I was.

No wonder so many writers enjoying running. It’s lessons are a metaphor for so many things.

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