In order to ensure that I exercise regularly and vigorously, I've made a point the past few years of signing up for something for which I need to train in order to accomplish. Last year, I rode in the Fireweed 400 and mountain biked in Montana. The year before, I trekked in Peru to Machu Picchu. This year, I set a goal of running at least one half-marathon (13.1 miles), and maybe the 100-mile part of the Fireweed (not quite a commitment yet).
These experiences were all fabulous and I'm beyond glad I did them. What it means, however, is that I've spent my leisure time, my time playing outdoors, focused on miles and speed. There never seems to be enough training time, so I can't "waste" what little I have not striving toward the goal.
Today, I gave myself a break. I wanted to go for a bike ride, but I also needed to give Scout some exercise, so I decide to just go for a walk. Not a run, a walk. We started out down Alpetco Road behind my house, but the mud holes were too big to get around. I gave up after splashing myself with mud and soaking my right foot.
Rather than go out to the old cemetery, a favorite running route of mine and one I'd have felt obligated to power walk, I decided to see how far we could get up Corbin Creek.
Turns out, not very far. Our lovely gravel bar quickly dead-ended in a low cliff covered with an alder thicket. I thought about turning back, but just wasn't ready to be done. I now sport scratches all over my legs to prove that I tried to pick my way through this Alaska-style jungle. I finally did give up within sight of my goal (the next gravel bar) when the only possible path through the alders was blocked by devil's club. Fighting my way through those thorny bastards was a no-win proposition.
On the plus side, Scout figured out that she's not going to drown if she goes near water. Just a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't get her to go through a half-inch deep mud puddle. Today, she jumped right into the creek. She never got more than the tips of her belly fur wet, but it was definite progress.
We weren't gone from home more than forty-five minutes, but what a delight it was. No real calories were burned and no muscle fibers were built, but the good to my soul was infinite. I really need to remember that no matter how hard I'm supposed to be training, I have to make time for the purely fun. After all, it's not like I'll ever be competitive in any of my endeavors. My mantra this year has been that I'm training to complete, not compete. That goal has plenty of room for soul-expanding fun.