A Joyful Return to Running

“Humans aren’t built to sit all day. Nor are we built for the kinds of repetitive, small movements that so much of today’s specialized work demands. Our bodies crave big, varied movements that originate at the core of our body.” (Scott Jurek, Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. bullet proof coffee 3
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur”)

Ultra-runner champion Scott Jurek (whose autobiography is an extremely inspirational and interesting read, even for those of use who vehemently disagree with the ideas about diet and nutrition he espouses in the work) is correct: human bodies do long for big, varied movements, and when one is used to moving – running! – for miles every day, for long periods of time outside the house, a sudden halt to that activity brings her shock at first, then disbelieve next, then finally a reluctant, depressed acceptance of reality. At the moment when she realizes that she really, absolutely cannot run for an unspecified period of time, a sort of panic takes over. How, she asks herself, will she replace that movement: that activity that releases such endorphins into her being, and releases her into the world as well? Should she do upper body and core work at the gym, where she will be surrounded by television screens showing CNN or music videos? Surrounded by people plugged up to machines that merely mimic running – not even truly moving – while they remain plugged into their various personal technological devices? Where, in the gym, are the trees?

McAllister Park
McAllister Park Boardwalk, N of Tobin Trailhead

The multi-hued and varied wild flowers?

McAllister Park
McAllister Park Boardwalk, S of Tobin Trailhead

The prickly pear cacti with their yellow, tulip-shaped blossoms?


The deer, gracefully running just far enough from the trail’s edge to guardedly observe the passersby? The cotton-tail bunnies, sprinting nervously and quickly off the trail to hide from passersby? The cattle contently grazing under the mesquite trees, occasionally lifting up their mellow brown eyes to gaze at passersby?

Leon Creek Greenway, N of Hausman Trailhead
Leon Creek Greenway, N of Hausman Trailhead

The rattlesnake heading out for dinner at sunset?

Leon Creek Greenway
Leon Creek Greenway, N of Buddy Calk Trailhead

No, no, no. The gym will never be a place in which people can experience the “dearest, freshness deep down things” or the sweet, mild creatures of nature. No, the gym will definitely not do as a place of active recovery.

All these thoughts and feelings passed through my mind, psyche, and spirit when an injury I received in the line of duty (baby-sitting our grandsons) side-lined me from running for several weeks. A chance poor landing on my feet as I sprung from a couch to chase after my precious B caused the detachment of my calf muscle from the bone to which it belongs. A grade two tear! Only water jogging and cycling, the doctor says, until further notice. Obviously I couldn’t go several weeks without moving, and moving outdoors as well! I began water jogging, but I needed something more to fill that grief and emptiness left by my forced hiatus from running! To assuage my distress and depression, Phillip bought me a nice urban hybrid bicycle.


At least I could move again, and spend time outside with the deer, the bunnies, and the trees. Cycling is nice; it offer’s one’s body some exercise and fulfills that need for speed. Cycling, however, is NOT running.

This week, the good Dr. Young freed me! He said I am healed well enough to run again, albeit in a limited fashion for the next month. To celebrate my return to running, I made some “bullet proof” coffee to try out as a pre-run drink. Made with good quality butter and coconut oil, how can it fail to be a delicious and beneficial drink to aid one’s work out? I gave my bullet proof coffee a bit of a twist; I had to add chocolate and sugar, of course! It tastes delicious. Best of all, it is naturally gluten-free! Often runners benefit from drinking, rather than eating, pre-run fuels.

Mocha Butter Coffee with MCT

8 oz strong coffee, freshly brewed
1 tbls dutch process unsweetened cocoa
1 tbls virgin coconut oil
2 tbls whole fat butter (preferably from grass-fed cows)
Sugar to taste (I use coconut sugar)

Pour the hot, freshly brewed coffee into a blender. Mix the cocoa with just enough water to form a paste. Add the cocoa paste, butter, coconut oil, butter, and sugar. Blend until the butter and oil are melted and the coffee is smooth. Pour into a mug; the coffee will have a nice, foamy head on it. Enjoy!

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