Run Unencumbered

unencumbered [ˌʌnɪnˈkʌmbəd]
adj not burdened, impeded, or hampered

As I stepped out of work today and looked up into the sky to see the epic clouds looming and the promise of a drizzly but potentially spectacular sunset, I immediately made up my mind. I knew exactly what I would do. Rain makes me want to be out in it.

I drove home and got changed. I grabbed my ipod, my phone, and my spi belt…. And then I thought better of it. I wanted to run unencumbered.

I took only what I needed to drive. My keys. My licence. I threw a towel in the car, and I strapped on my super basic Vibram KSO’s.

I drove to the hill. I locked everything in the glovebox and popped the keys in my pocket.

Then in the rain I climbed. I walked and I ran, whatever I felt like. I didn’t think. Just run and breathe. I didn’t stop for photos, but I did stop for the view and to pat a dog. That’s why there’s no photos on this post. I didn’t listen to music, but I did listen to the rain and the wind and the occasional cows. In a burst of energy I powered up a hill and then I slowed to watch the town lights come on.

It was getting dark. I took off my shoes and ran in the mud. And for a moment I felt completely free. I wanted to run on and on, but at that point my brain kicked back in and told me the sun was sinking and soon I wouldn’t be able to see well enough to trust my steps.

So I turned and came back. Put my shoes back on and walked down the hill. By this stage the path had water running like a stream down it. I picked my way down, careful not to slip. At the bottom I removed my shoes again and ran back to the car, past the puddles and the grass and the frogs. By this time it was very dark, so I was slow and careful.

In the end I returned to the car not knowing just how far I had run. At a rough guess I would say it was about 3-4 kms, but I would have kept running if I had the sunlight.

It felt wonderful. Free, light, and so relaxing. My neck has settled down, and I had no pain from it.

I am often fixated on numbers when I run. Distance, pace, heart rate. This time I ran however my body wanted me to go. It might not have been a long workout or a fast workout, but it was good for the soul.

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