In this modern world, there are lots of diversions to keep people occupied and out of touch with nature and their own bodies. Many of these diversions are self-imposed.
Work, commuting, and even blogging can get in the way of a "real" and natural experience. That's why I love trail running. Last night's run in semi-muddy conditions was just wonderful!
Some people get so out of touch with nature and the physical world that they don't do any non-technical recreation. They end up devolving into total techno-potatos. Many others that strive for some kind of physical fitness end up needing a lot of artificial gizmos to stay in shape and recreate.
Runners don't need much in the way of modern gizmos to recreate. A pair of shoes is all most of us need (and some runners don't even need the shoes). Clothing can make the experience more enjoyable (and socially acceptable), also. But most runners THINK they need pavement, sidewalks, and groomed trails to go out for a run. Most of them actually think that it's NATURAL to run on these unnatural surfaces, but they are missing the point.
In my opinion, pavement-pounders don't realize that their runs are just an extension of their unnatural and modern existence, and they are missing out on a real pleasure. Many of them are running on pavement for the same reasons that I would never, ever choose to do as an activity: they are turning their brains off, in a kind of robotic sensory-deprivation. You don't get away with that when you're running on a rocky, ever-changing surface (in the woods). And all of the sights, sounds, textures, and smells that you encounter makes you realize that the "real" part of you craves this natural pleasure. It's imprinted into us as a species, but until you experience it, you won't have a clue what you're missing.
If you are a pavement-junkie, you might try to spice things up, sometime. Come out and join us for a run sometime, and see what you are missing! Beware, though. You may never want to return to the hard, flat, and artificial.
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