Running in the fall, that is.
I had forgotten because it has been two years since I have really been able to experience fall running the way it should be experienced.
Last year we moved to the suburbs right at the beginning of the season, and while I started running in our new neighborhood right away, it took me a long time to get my running mojo back. Combine that with a snowstorm the second week in November that basically destroyed any semblance of fall color, and last year was basically a lost season for me.
It was last March that I discovered the place that would become my new running home. After learning to run, and learning to love to run in Central Park, I didn't think I would ever find another place I could call my own.
I was wrong.
It started off as mere curiosity. I had heard talk of a pathway that ran for 13 miles alongside Westchester's Bronx River Parkway. After three years of running in Central Park I wasn't too happy with the street routes that I had been taking, so one Sunday I made my way to the Bronx River Pathway to try it out. It was March, but winter was still taking it's last bite of New York as I started to run on the concrete path. The trees were bare, and the wind was downright frigid, but it was love at first site.
All though the spring, and then the summer, I ran the pathway. It was there that I completed the second half of my training schedule for my second half marathon and watched the change of seasons, all the while wondering what my new beloved running path would look like in a riot of fall colors.
I have not been disappointed.
Running on my pathway this fall, in a place that has finally become my home, I feel more alive than I have in a long, long time. The smoky scents, leaves crunching underfoot, the crisp air and the stunning colors have given me back a vital piece of myself that had been missing for months. And I didn't even realize it was missing until my love of running implanted itself snugly back in my soul.
These past two months have infused me with an energy to run that I have been lacking as of late. And I know, without a doubt, that I have the season to thank. This season of running shorts with long sleeve shirts, and short sleeve shirts with running gloves has given me myself back.
And I am grateful.
Every time I make my way to the pathway to run, I pass a welcome sign at the entrance gate.
And until these past few weeks I hadn't given it much thought. But lately, every time I pass that sign, I smile. Because really, that sign is welcoming me back to myself, back to my life, and back to the utter contentment I feel when I lace up my sneakers and run the path.
It is the sign that, in all seasons, will welcome me home.