Winter Run (and Walk)

Tonight I thought I would just quick get out and do a run/walk. It’s been over a month since I’ve run last and didn’t want to get too ambitious. The last few times that I’ve ran I’ve struggled with a tight leg muscle so I wanted to start slow. I don’t like running and really only do it for the efficiency of the work-out and cross-training, so I didn’t want to push myself and then pay for it for the next 4 days. I don’t mind being sore, but when it interferes with my biking….

I have a pretty standard 1.9 mile route that gives me just enough of a work out to get the heart rate up for 15-20 minutes. Tonight, though, I decided to start out walking the first portion of that route to warm up and then jogged over to Howard which runs along Lake Macatawa’s lakeshore and on down to Dunton Park. The route is primarily an asphalt side walk so I can stay off the street.

I love running/walking through Dunton Park at night, especially in the winter because of its location right on Lake Macatawa. Tonight did not disappoint me. Dunton Pak is a 21 acre park with a nice hunk of lake frontage. The park has been developed over the years with gazebos for picnics, playgrounds, open fields to run around in, and wooden walkways right next to the water, which is frozen this time of year. In the summer the park offers a boat launch that is always busy with fishermen and families launching their vessels for the day. My kids only care about the playground and usually beg me to bike with them there anytime it’s above 45 degrees. The park is well lit at night making the trail easy to navigate. Running through the park is also fun because of all the stairs, switchbacks, ascending, and descending paths that wind you through the wooded habitat right next to the water. The added complications of snow and ice take out the monotony of running for me as well.

I noticed something cool again tonight that I had forgotten because it’s been since last winter that I’ve run through the park. Across the lake from the park is a heavy industrial metal recycling facility that lights up the sky and is filled with bright white steam from work going on. I found it to be a stark contrast to where I was standing. Where I was standing, amongst the trees, God’s hands had created. Across the lake, busy and large, man’s hands had created. Both were awe-inspiring to me. Some people might look at that contrast and say ‘what a shame’ that we have wasted the natural landscape for our machines. But I appreciate the balance between conserving natural spaces and being industrious with our hands. It reminds me that we need peacefulness, through playing in these parks, to help offset the disturbance of our work.

So, without my headphones on tonight, I enjoyed a quiet, refreshing breath of crisp winter air. It brought peace to a non-peaceful day and hopefully relaxing rest to my sleep.


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