Mile by mile

Eight point two miles.
There's something about this that makes me feel powerful.

And sweaty.

I feel like I should probably balance out the running and hiking with something  at the gym but then I see this...















I remember why I don't run on a treadmill. I might in the middle of winter, but right now, I have my mountains.
When I run, I spend the first five miles in an almost meditative state. Nothing but me and the trail. One foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out. I pay attention to my stride, my form, everything about the actual run...
After mile five, I start to get into this amazing state where I am keenly aware of everything surrounding me. The smell of the pine trees towering over the trail, the black beetle slowly lumbering across my path, clouds building over the mountains. Mile five to mile seven are less meditative and more absorbing everything in front of me.
And then there is the last mile. That is the mile I love. The one where my muscles start to feel numb and achy at the same time. The one where I want to stop but I see my shadow and I see actual muscles in my shadow. Seeing that and feeling the ache is enough to make me run faster on that last stretch than the rest of my entire run. That is the part where I feel like a gazelle, where I am fast. This is where I feel powerful.

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