The draw to running, for me, is being immersed in a world that is distinct and separate from the alternate real grind. It is my world. I still have the same problems. I’m still the same person. But all those other external things are muted and paused for as long as I remain in motion. If my brain feels fried from a week’s activities, getting outside for an hour will remove that haze and free me. The tension that builds up in my body can be put to use and propel me along a truly enjoyable path. A headwind cools me; a tailwind keeps me aloft. Interior gray is wiped clean. My soul is warmed by sunlight, and running in the rain takes me to another plane of existence that I’m convinced only a special breed of runners can appreciate. Running under stars in darkness is an adventure. Running through heat and humidity is a challenge. A snow-covered landscape makes a quiet you would not believe. Even in this city. There is much too much to see, hear and feel. I try to keep track of some of the special things I experience along the way. I don’t need a soundtrack to go along with my world – it’s already provided. I hear the breeze and wind in the leaves and grass. The waves of the lake ripple, crash, or lie still. Steps of my feet keep the rhythm while insects and birds sing their songs. I see people, animals, wildlife, wildflowers, trees, grass, boulders, rocks, gravel, roads, buildings, the lake, the sky, the sun, the sunrise, the clouds, the moon. People do funny things and dumb things; they say rude things and kind things. I experience a different view of humanity. I find things and lose things. I get hot, cold, thirsty. I feel tired, powerful, healthy, sick, fast, slow, but definitely alive. I drink from fountains and relish cool water on hot days. I learn about myself. I think about my form, my steps, my speed, my cadence, my health, my pains. My thoughts. A good or bad run will still take me to this world. I might almost get there on a treadmill stuck in front of a TV, but no not quite. I have to get outside, away from walls, incandescents and fluorescents. Into the real world. That’s what it is – the real world – right?