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I didn’t particularly want to go out yesterday afternoon.  I had been battling a cold for a few days and
hadn’t felt great on my past two runs.  I
found myself putting away laundry, taking out the recycling and cutting out
kindergarten crafts rather than lacing up my shoes.  I was avoiding it.   I knew the weather was perfect, especially
for November, and that days as warm as that won’t last for much longer, but I
waited and waited until it was time to get the kids from school. 

I knew I needed to get out, so I put them in the car and
drove to one of our favorite spots.  It’s
a neighbor’s property, and he, an avid mountain biker, has cut trails in and
out of the woods surrounding his cabin.  Even
better, he gave me permission to use it anytime.  It’s a perfect place because I can get off
the road, which is far less punishing, and I can let the kids play in a
wonderland of pine groves and meandering creeks without too many worries.

While they happily dug a “treasure keeper” in the side of
the hill and made a lean-to out of fallen pine boughs and damp leaves, I did a
workout of 600 m repeats through the woods. 
As I was warming up, I could think of a million things I would have
rather been doing, like sitting in a lean-to and digging a hole in the dirt,
but I went ahead and finished the warm-up, and as always, after 15 minutes, my
reluctance turned to enthusiasm.  That’s
generally all it takes for me.  If I can
just get out the door and get that first 15 minutes over with, I’m good for the
whole workout.

One of the best things about running in the woods is the
quiet.  It allows for total concentration
and focus.  I was only temporarily
distracted by a shower of leaves as they fell from the tip-tops of the trees
along the creek bank to the water below. 
It was like a storm of little whirling boats from heaven, and for a
moment, I lost concentration and slowed down if only for a few seconds.  The rest of the time, I was aware only of my
own breathing, the swing of my arms and the push of my feet against the soft,
mossy ground. 


And this morning, I went out again; only this time, I ran
the road near my house and enjoyed the smell of early morning wood smoke, the
silhouette of naked trees against a steel gray November sky and horses trotting
along beside me inside their fence.  I
felt even better than I did yesterday, which I guess goes to prove there’s
something to be said for consistency and just getting out the door.  Those first 15 minutes might be a killer, but
they are so worth the payoff.

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