Jogging became fun for me when I stopped timing my runs. Without the pressure of needing to “set a personal record,” or even run a decent time, I could just enjoy myself, and relish the beauty of Cheesequake State Park, a lovely park in central New Jersey from which we lived about a mile away, and where I jogged approximately five days a week.
New Jersey has four distinct seasons, and I ran year-round – in the sticky, oppressive heat of summer, and the biting cold of winter, totally loving the cyclic changes exhibited by the park: its leaves, its flowers, its birds, its bugs, and its peepers. I’d sometimes go there in heavy rain, and even jog in deep snow. It wasn’t that I was fanatical; if I didn’t feel like going, I wouldn’t go. I just liked it. And this, I think, is one of the biggest factors in staying healthy: finding beneficial practices that are fun, practices you can stay with for years simply because you like them.
I usually jogged at 8 – 9 in the morning, and would have the park pretty much to myself. It was uncommon to see another jogger. But springtime in New Jersey is fabulous, and on the first, perfect, 75-degree spring day, when the air was fragrant and thick, and the birds were warbling, and the forsythia were pure yellow, a virtual throng of joggers would appear. The exquisite beauty of nature would summon them, and they would heed the call, clearly determined to “get in shape.” They’d be around, in varying numbers, for a few weeks. But as the heat of June approached, their ranks would dwindle, and by July at the latest, I’d be alone again.
What were they thinking??? What is this impulse in human beings to accomplish something, that so easily fizzles out?