Last year almost every run I ventured out on was accompanied by my pedometer (it becomes addictive). Then I was getting pains in my knees and took a break from running. When I started again I did so according to the physio's instructions, alternating running and walking and taking it slowly. After a while I tried running with no walking breaks, and my knees were fine. So I thought I could get serious again, and I remembered the pedometer. But its battery had died, and I haven't replaced it yet.
I live in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. My neighbourhood is a Tolkienesque wonderland with horses, donkeys, cows and dogs, and I do appreciate it every single day, but you are able to take in so much more when you are not racing along the paths and bogroads at great speed. Running sans pedometer has made me slow down again, and instead of focusing on times and kilometers, I have been on long walks with a bit of running in between and vice versa.
This year the blackberries are in abundance, and we have been picking them everywhere we spot them. Last week I picked some during one such run-walk. Some runners attach weights to their wrists; little bags full of blackberries aren't that different (and they didn't turn into jam from all the bouncing). I watched caterpillars cross the road and said hello to the horses. I got lost on purpose. The endless chatter in my mind was turned off.
The endorphins and the feeling of accomplishment after a long sweaty run are hard to beat, but at the moment I prefer the quieter contentment of my random approach to exercise.