On Saturday morning, a caravan of individuals made the trek to the Myakka River State Park to partake in the 1st Annual Myakka River Nature Escape, a 5K and 10K road run organized by the Manasota Track Club. It was a rainy, cool morning that turned muggy as the race continued, but it was in a state park, so the scenery was rather appealing.
I never knew how beautiful the Florida environment really is until this past year when my team taught the Florida Habitat Unit to our 7th & 8th graders. Honestly, I didn’t even know what a cypress dome or a roseate spoonbill was until last March. I couldn’t tell the difference between a red, white or black mangrove tree and I couldn’t describe how fires were actually beneficial to the survival of the scrub ecosystem. I know, I am a science teacher and I should have known this, but truth be told, I was too busy planning and teaching to actually go visit the park.
So while I was running, I wasn’t actually paying much attention to Huey Lewis and the News singing from my iPod or how my knees felt sore. I was looking at the trees, noticing the canopies we were running beneath, admiring the sunrise and the water off in the distance by the Bird Walk. It rained off and on for about 20 minutes, and normally I hate being rained upon, but on that morning, it really wasn’t that bad. I barely noticed it with my friend, Keith, running alongside me, smiling and singing to Bruce Sprinsteen.
I can't explain the way running makes me feel to those people who do not partake in a morning jaunt or an 8 mile therapy session with their dog. I love the feeling of accomplishment, the rush of endorphins and the ability to sleep the whole night through. To some, sleeping may come easy, but unfortunately, I have battled my inability to stay asleep for the past 4 years. So when I come home, exhausted and tired, sweaty and stinky, I am actually relieved to know not only that I finished my scheduled run, but that I will sleep well tonight.
So regardless that we had to each pay $1 to park outside of the entrance Saturday morning, or the fact that the race started at the North entrance (not the one off of Clark Rd), or how we arrived 10 min before the start and still had to put our shoes on, or how my knees felt after the run, I still have to admit that it was a pretty good morning. I would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a cool Saturday morning than running with good friends in a beautiful park in Sarasota.
Running IS cheaper than therapy.