Forest Long Run

In the thick bushes a few meters ahead, I hear branches breaking with a snap. I slow down, not because I’m scared but because I know the sound⁠—deer. The rushed sounds marking their escape mean I already spooked them. But there’s still a chance they’ll cross the path I’m running on. The chance for me to see these majestic animals.

Clash with Nature

I fell in love with long runs the moment I was able to sustain running non-stop for more than an hour and a half. And once I realized long runs taste best in the forest, there was no going back. The promise of a long run in the dark depths of a nearby national park makes me prickle with excitement.

And so every Sunday, I wake up, pack nice munch, and drive out into the wilderness. Chasing after unforgettable experiences.

It starts when I step out of the car. So far away from civilization, the silence is deafening. Breaking it with the shuffle of my feet, I feel like an intruder. But the guilt quickly disappears, and soon enough I let the forest carry me away with the aura of permeating exceptionality.

I let my eyes devour the furious greenery that defies winter. Layer after layer, I shed sorrows and miseries of life, replacing them with the serenity of nature. My heart rate drops, and I relax, drawing comfort from each stride, floating.

At times, I feel like stepping off the path and dashing into the uncharted wilderness. I resist the temptation—I would be a disturbance to the peaceful existence of all the creatures to which this is home. I leave it alone, letting it thrive, docilely following the path. I’m grateful for the bone-deep sense of belonging, of the union of my meager self with the time and space of this primeval forest. A satiating feast for the senses.

The few people I meet on the path greet me kindly, and I smile knowing that they, too, share this experience. A private chunk of heaven to which we’ll be coming back again and again in the coming days, waiting, impatient, for Sunday.

Maja

Personal bests: 5K - 20:48 10K - 43:48

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