Rambling Roads: What’s Next?

By George A. Hancock
runnergah@comcast.net

Running is a simple act. For me, running requires no special motivation. I run because I can. And, I like running. I’m in my 47th road-running year. Running is my sport. Running is my pastime. OK, maybe running is beyond my hobby.

Yes, running for me is a way of life. I get to see so much, running along the roads. I am a road runner. I enjoy running the local roads checking out the seasonal sights. Or, simply mulling, dissecting, analyzing a news story or a book.

So, what’s next? We were assaulted by a staggering array of stories and issues this year. And, we are only in the year’s eighth month. We are running through a virtual cultural upheaval. Some runners, depending upon their residence, experience this 2020 phenomenon more than others.

Yes, the daily news gives us all so much to ponder. My morning run while monitoring traffic is replete with a mish-mash of leading news stories. Sometimes it take the entire run to analyze, dissect, or comprehend many stories.

Frequently, I’m a puzzled runner. I know my route. I know what I’m doing. But, so many news events are mind boggling. Maybe I should stop mulling these news stories.

Nah, the morning run analysis is educational too. A runner can analyze other things, too. The most obvious thing is the weather. The runner out and about every day experiences Mother Nature’s entire spectrum.

We experience the four seasons running across Greater Johnstown. Each season has its own distinct characteristics. The roadside sights touch our senses on every run. And, throw in our rolling hills and the runner finds a superb workout.

Our changing seasonal weather patterns have many runners uttering, what’s next? During some seasons the runner faces tremendous weather swings. Beautiful sunny blue skies can frequently be followed the next day by gale force winds with blinding snow.

My thought is simple.  This is what makes daily running interesting. A weather challenge is good. Any challenge is good. We become better runners by meeting and surpassing these challenges.

Of course, family and work days also supply the what’s next question. Families, especially large families with differing views and opinions, create perplexing situations. A family member acting on their view or opinion also creates intriguing what’s next scenarios.

The workplace by its nature composed of individuals from various lifestyles, geographic locations, and educational backgrounds produces numerous what’s next situations. Toss in conflicting views about COVID-19, masks, social distancing, and recommended guidelines and we discover a plethora of what’s next speed bumps.

This runner is happily retired. Avoiding the what’s next situations is easy these days. Also, having pleasant and fulfilling pastimes is great for one’s mental well-being. The what’s next situations are taken in stride. And no pun was intended there.

Our 24/7 world is consumed with the latest what’s next news story. Social Media is on fire with all the raging comments. Hurtful comments are hurled every which way. Sophisticated software is used to change stories, photos, words, etc. A new story is created or changed to illustrate a different viewpoint. What’s true? What’s false?

Running offers an escape from this deceptive reality. Running is a great way to clear our minds, view natural sights, and gain valuable physical exercise. Plus, if the runner is so inclined, reviewing or dissecting the news is a run possibility. Or simply running away or getting away for a brief time span.

So, what’s next? Run smart, run well.

Editor’s Note: I agree George. Running and walking help keep me centered and less stressed. The beauty of nature provides a wonderful way of clearing my head and relaxing.FSC

George Hancock running near his home in Western PA, always thinking . . .


Categories: Race Coverage

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