Friday night I was afforded the opportunity to run down in Saint Cloud on the lakefront of East Lake Toho. I haven’t run down there in almost two and a half years. My journey with running began long before I made running on the lakefront my regular route, but it was running on the lakefront where my pure enjoyment of running took hold of me.
As I ran Friday night I was reminded of many of the things that made running on the lakefront so enjoyable. You could always count on seeing wildlife. In the warmer months it not only not uncommon, but reliable to see baby gators in the retention waters between the sidewalk and the lake proper. They weren’t big, but there’s something special about seeing as many as 10 baby gators as you run. Birds were non-stop. Cranes, gulls, ducks and many others. Even saw a bald eagle swoop down and grab a bunny once.
Lights in the sky. The path is lit, but as you look out over the unlit lake, you could see tons of stars. For me, it is special to be able to enjoy seeing the heavenly lights. On the far side of the lake, miles away, is Orlando International Airport which means you always see planes on approach or descent to the airport. If you aren’t afforded this pleasure, you may overlook it. I think being able to watch the planes is kinda awe-inspiring. I remember running once during a storm that had a very thick cloud cover and you could watch the planes fly up towards the ‘ceiling’ and disappear in the darkness as well as see the planes descend from nowhere. That was super-cool.
The last thing about running on the lakefront that brought the sheer enjoyment of running to me was the isolation of it all. Ronda, the boys and the dogs ran with me sometimes but more times than not I was by myself. As a dad, there are precious few things you can do by yourself. Even time in the bathroom isn’t sacred anymore. As I ran it was me and my thoughts. Alone. Unpacking my baggage without distraction.
As I ran Friday, all these memories and feelings rushed back to me and I savored them all. I was in such a sublime moment as I ran… That’s probably why I was distracted enough to crank out 7 miles on Friday.