I love all the new technology that allows us to monitor our pace and distance, but there’s a drawback to my beloved NikePlus: When I’m on a timed run, I’m not nearly as inclined to stop and smell the free stuff.
You know…the free stuff on the side of the road.
Call me a Hoarder in Motion, but it’s tough to keep going when something glistens on the side of the road. Remember Templeton, the rat from Charlotte’s Web, always foraging for a bit of string or a half-eaten lunch? I’m not that bad. Not yet. But I will interrupt a personal best if there is a brand-new vase from Pier One, $25 price tag still attached, half-hidden in the weeds, calling to me.
Yup, found that this year on the run.
Also this bracelet:
And, proving there is a little Templeton in me, also a side-view mirror for a car. It wouldn’t fit my Jeep, so I don’t need it, but I took it home. Because you never know.
Beyond the unexpected finds, there are constants. In the summer, I stop for fresh flowers; in the fall, for dried.
In fact, this is the best time of year for foraging, for both chipmunks and runners, with the foliage dying and shriveling, exposing the glorious junk strewn by litterers over the summer.
Every time I run in the fall, I return home with a piece of firewood. Some people might think I am crazy, running down the road with a log. Me, I think people who PAY for firewood are crazy, when, in the ex-urbs and beyond, there’s free wood all over the ground, and–hello?–you’re just going to burn it, not frame it.
Plus, running with logs is great for your biceps. Let all those sedentary weaklings laugh all they want.
Sometimes I even find food. The best blackberries I’ve ever had were consumed mid-run when I came across a thicket of fat, ripe berries in a field, and I stopped and shared a snack with some generous birds.
The berries are long gone, but right now chestnuts are dropping in New England. I pick up a couple off the side of the road every time I run, and by December I can roast (free) chestnuts over my (free) open fire, all because I run like a rat.
Seriously, what other sport gives you free stuff?
Running is a gift we give ourselves, and like a good friend, if you keep your eyes open (and don’t mind an occasional stop and a subtraction of seconds), it will always reciprocate.
Salties, what have you found on the run?