There’s nothing quite like being both a runner and a writer. I think they work pretty well together. I’ve heard that normal teammates will just point out what areas of a cross country course map are hills, not send a 300-word essay complete with anecdotes and way-too-specific details about the texture of the leaves. Every turn has a memory. The wind screams words that end up in poems. The grooves in the grass from bike tires interlock with memories that make me smile so hard my face hurts. 

When I run it’s just me and the sidewalks. It doesn’t matter how fast I’m going, only that I’m going. The rhythm of my feet plodding along the sidewalk is therapeutic and I swear it makes the sun shine more gently. My runs help me notice things I never would’ve seen otherwise. The bits of light peeking through leaves and the waves of ants creeping onto concrete. Two squirrels playing a feisty game of tag. An elderly couple taking a stroll down to visit the creek. Moments. The moments in which I end up stopped on the side of the road to jot some words down in the notes app of my phone. When inspiration strikes, you grab it no matter the circumstances. The same thought never strikes my brain twice.  

I wonder what I look like to the cars driving by. I’m zoned out in thought, not paying too much attention as I trod along. Silently absorbing the noises around me. The tires on the road. The voices yelling at a distant soccer game. Trees brushing against each other. A billion sounds at once yet one quiet harmony at the same time.  

It’s beautiful. 

The trails are my favorite place to run. The battle between my sneakers and the ground intensifies as I switch to gravel and mountains. The trees get taller; the birds are louder. And there’s so much green. Everywhere. It’s a watercolor of emerald and pine and evergreen mashed against each other, eternally overlapping. The sheen of sweat on my face drips off in layers onto the deep reddish-brown combination of old rocks and dirt. Rolling hills are no joke. But without even realizing, when I reach the top of the tallest hill the rhythmic plodding of my feet comes to a smooth halt. I look around. It’s silent. Nothingness. Just me and a sky covered in streaks of white fluffy cotton balls that stand out from the comically bright blue ceiling being held up by the wall of green around me. 

When I’m done admiring the magic around me, I tighten my laces and ease back into that steady pattern of movement. One foot after the other, brain racing my feet. My thoughts eventually win, and I’m yet again stopped on the side of the road, cars speeding by and the wind whipping my hair into my mouth as I’m creating a new addition to my notes. The cycle begins again.  

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