Back in elementary school I hated going outside. Typically going outside meant playing kickball and on one occasion I decided it was preferable to hide under a table next to the guinea pig pen instead of going onto the pocked concrete field to have the red, rubber ball tossed in my direction. I’m sure Harry appreciated the company, or at least appreciated being terrorized by only one eight-year-old instead of 30. I never understood why all my classmates got so revved up over the thought of going out into the humidity and heat. We’d spent over a millennia of evolution to become smart enough to invent the air conditioner. Shouldn’t we stay inside to do our Venn diagrams and appreciate it?
Which is why it is so odd that I was ecstatic that it was warm enough this weekend to go running on the trail. Maybe it’s because no one throws balls at me out there – at least not yet – though I did need to watch out for dog poop. Is there a plastic bag shortage I should know about? Because it wasn’t so poopy out there last year. I know the physical changes in myself over the past two years are obvious, but it’s attitude changes like this that I find the most fascinating. I’m now the kind of person who likes to run outside and who cooks her dinner most every night. I’ve heard that over the course of every seven years, every cell in your body replaces itself at least once. I don’t know if this is actually true or one of those urban myths, but sometimes I wonder if my data got slightly corrupted and now I’m a copy of someone I never was.
Either way, running in the fresh air was fun and uplifting in ways I can’t really describe. I’m able to run much farther now than I could back in the fall. Whenever I saw another runner passing by, I felt like we were in a secret club of people who know how great running feels. If you’re not in the club, you just can’t understand. I know, because I definitely did not used to have a membership card. The idea of exercise for fun seemed illogical. In the Venn diagram of my old life, you’d have to place me outside the circle of “People who enjoy running,” but now you can put my name right in the middle.