Running for Fun? Yes, Man!

Last week the weather was BEAUTIFUL - I say was because it's back to rain this week - and I was eager to get back to my outdoor running routine.  I think I've mentioned before I'm not much of a runner, I enjoy it for the first 3-4 miles but any longer and I start to get cramped and bored.  But since I hadn't engaged in any kind of outdoor cardio for at least a week, I was feeling inspired.

Has anyone seen Yes Man?  If you have, you'll remember that Zooey Deschanel's character Allison leads an early-morning group of jogging photographers.  The concept is simple:  take pictures while running.  And though it is probably not the most lucrative hobby, it is an activity I found worthwhile.  As Allison whimsically observes in the movie:

"I know there isn't that much demand for blurry photographs taken while running — but ... you know, who caresThe world's a playground! You know that when you are a kid, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it."

How true is that?  We are all children once, resilient and curious explorers of the big wide world waiting to be discovered.  But slowly, so slowly we often don't even realize it's happening, we grow up.  We assume the responsibilities left to our parents as children - we get jobs, we get apartments, we get bills, the list goes on.  And before you know it, that sense of wonder that held us all together as kids dissipates into the worry and stress of being - dare I say it - adults.  But there is good news - it doesn't have to be this way!

Remembering Allison's dialogue in Yes Man inspired me to supplement my normal running route with a bit of amateur photography.  Not caring what I took pictures of, or how the lighting was or what any of it looked like, I snapped about 45 photos on my iPhone in as many minutes.  And you know what? It was actually a lot of fun!  Maybe it was my euphoria at the perfect temperature and crystal blue sky, but more likely it was that I had consciously taken the time to observe my surroundings and to exist entirely in the moment.  This is something that can be really hard for most adults - too often we are thinking about the past or the future; how that meeting went at the office, what didn't get crossed off the to-do list that you'll have to worry about tomorrow.  Snapping a few photos while I jogged around Boston's Charles River forced me to live mentally exactly where I was physically - and that made all the difference.  I actually ran about 15 minutes longer than I planned, and finished my run feeling energized and happy and best of all, adventurous.

I  know that running while taking pictures isn't going to make us all instantly revert to the child versions of ourselves, but it did help me remember that life is a playground - and we should all take the time, whenever we can, to play in the jungle gym.