The first time I ran in NC I almost cried. It was almost a giddy cry. It just felt so good. It didn't feel like there were weights on my feet or like I was running in quick sand. My body just knew what to do.
My first run in NC
My parents live on a mountain. This meant that if I ran down I had to run back up to get home. I didn't mind. I even drove down into town to run on my old route once and is was HORRIBLE. I missed the hills.
This is the bottom 1/3 of the big hill back up to the house. When I took this picture I was surprised at how un-steep it seemed compared to how it felt. I'll just say, it's bigger in person.
This was my all time FAVORITE run while I was home. It was like a monsoon. I could barely see and I kept inhaling water, but it was magical. There is just something about running in a total downpour that unburdens my soul. I wish I could do it every day.
There is a beautiful trail run around an old manor on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's actually the retirement home Tom Hanks is in at the beginning and the end of The Green Mile. Almost endless carriage trails to keep you busy. Some of those trails are darn challenging. If you run from the pond to the manor house you are going uphill the whole way. And then again of you go to the fire tower. So you can get pretty tired and worn out.
Another thing that I think made a huge difference in my TX vs my NC runs were the people. I try not to run alone where I am not going to be near other people for safety/paranoia reasons. In TX pretty much everyone seems to hate being outside. Well, maybe it just seems that way because if you run past someone in TX they don't usually look at you. If they do, it's a glare.
In NC runners are having fun. When they see another runner coming they light up. They look at you with a big smile and greet you. Like they are saying "it's great to see you again!". Seriously I get less enthusiastic greetings from people I consider friends.
I tried to pay attention to whether or not the super happy people were runners or if it was just a southern thing. Overall the people outside were generally happier in NC then TX but the runners were WAY happier. Walkers would look up and half smile and nod but the runners look up, smile, wave and say Hi! like we were long lost friends. Maybe we are. Maybe there was a special runners preexistence. Where we all got to run in the cool mountain air to our hearts content.
After getting back to TX and starting up my runs again I just want to cry. But not a happy giddy cry. More like a pitiful whimper. Like my body is saying "No! Please not this again!" I don't blame it. I miss the lift of my running buddies too.