So, this is my new form of self-gratification entertainment:

Lately, I’ve been Youtube binging on other runners who also have spiraled down the deep rabbit hole of nature cardio.

Trail jogging junkies.

And, I’m not even going to pretend that it’s like my other view gorge seshes. No. This shiz is next level. It’s like porn for your feet. The moment I watched the above one, the skin of my soles started buzzing, and I knew I’d found something spesh. And, thank god for that, because – for some reason – I was doing that thing where I was getting all pessimistic about how good my run wasn’t gonna be today and how the rest of my day would thus suck too, and then – right before I fully transformed into that depressing donkey from Winnie the Pooh – that video above popped up in my blessed sidebar.

(Glad I did! Youtube’s stalker feature finally proves useful in some way.)

And it made me think of two things: 1.) I don’t have a reason to think my run will be shitty; most of them have been great lately. And 2.) Many other the runners I’ve been seeing at the new park I’ve been going to look like they absolutely hate running. Sure, it made me think I’m really lucky to love it from start to end. But it also made me wonder what separates us. There they are – huffing and puffing away, their mugs collectively, uniformly broadcasting a similar message most of the time: PLEASEHITMEWITHYOURCAR. (I tend to think that’s why runners face the traffic when they run and expect you to swerve; they don’t care if they get hit. They want you to.) And therein lies the answer, I think. Most, but not all, of the fellow runners seem miserable. It’s a split, interestingly enough, between those who look like I feel – happy – and these this-is-my-penance-ers. And you wanna know where that split happens? Where the terrain meets the asphalt. If I pass a person on the trail, nine point nine nine nine-with-a-repetition-bar-over-it times, they’ll smile, say hi, and we’ll exchange a wave. The micro percentage amount of the time I run on the road, though, and look to make the same friendly interaction – it happens almost never. What is that then? Something in the woods? Is it that when I’m around organic bark behemoth skyscrapers with foliage rooftops, I feel like I’m part of something “bigger than myself”?

Is it the contrast of colors?

The extra oxygen?

My kinky arboreal fetish?

While I feel like the answer to these questions is likely “Yes”, “Yes”, “Yes”, and “It wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me”, so many gym junkies still gimme the hair-twirl equivalent of a facial response whenever I try to describe it. Yeah, kinda like that one you’re doing right now. In fact, other day when I got delivered the worst pickup line ever in the history of them, the guy also added insult to injury by multiply asking me what gym I went to. And not because I didn’t give a response, either. First, I replied “Out in nature! I run on the trails” Then, about two seconds later, he asked “But, like, which gym do you go to – ‘cause I go to (*insert an article of information my brain rightfully dismissed as irrelevant information*)…” When I repeated myself, it was like he still didn’t get it.

Couldn’t help but brain-link this to something I was asked maybe a month or two ago from one of those peeps who’re big into monitoring exactly how much they’ve burned, how many reps they’ve done, and how many EDM songs worth of Equinox radio they’ve jogged. And I can understand – I can. Because that was me a few years ago. Now that I don’t eat like shit, anymore, I’m free of all’a that, though. I can pound down the fruit ‘n veg all I want and make running what it used to be when I started doing it as a preteen: passion. And I’ll tell you what, when I stopped obsessing – eliminated this whole yo-yo bullshit – I lost around eight or ten more pounds. Just by finally heeding my body’s snotty demands. I’m not perfect (obv., otherwise I’d never age), but I’m doing far better than I was when I was playing food-banker with all the energy I Pacman in and pore-poop out with my blood-pumping stuffs. I don’t need to. What an effing relief. And a relief for my bank account too, seeing as the gym’s become obsolete for me. Nature’s cheaper than a gym. Says I, thrift not lift.

’cause the world’s my playground. And I’m willing to share it with you.

In fact, I hope I just did.

(If not, play the video above again for some inspo.)