I need it bad

God, do I ever need it bad.

It’s been so long, I can barely remember what it feels like.

I’m about to lose my mind.


But just in time, I’m getting some.

Yes, a vacation. I’m finally getting time off from work. Eleven days in row.

Man, is this a gift from heaven. Like I said, it’s been way too long.

The past month has been an absolute blur. I’ve worked too many ungodly long days to count. Busy, busy, busy. 

And guess what has suffered? That’s right. Trail Boy has become Desk Boy.

But now it’s time to change all that. I get to have some time of my own, a chance to catch my breath, sleep in, do a few long runs in the woods, read a book or two and generally feel human again.

Well, yes, I’ll also do a little Christmas shopping and go to Ohio next weekend for a holiday visit with family and friends.

But mostly, I get to relax and do what  want to do.

I started the vacation two days ago, on Saturday, and in the perfect way. I went to the woods and ran around for a few hours.

OK, it wasn’t exactly a long run. I was there on an orienteering lesson with my son’s Cub Scout troop.

There we were, 10 or 12 kids, a bunch of dads, and the woods.

For three hours, we hiked and ran, along trails, through fields, along creeks, even a little bushwacking. We were armed with topographical maps and compasses. Our goal was to find a few dozen hidden “controls” — or markers, where we could punch our cards to prove we had read our maps correctly.

I must say, I was a lot of fun. After weeks chained to my desk, this was the perfect primal release.

And it was different enough to be interesting. Usually, when I go on a trail run, I’m thinking about the scenery and the trail. I’m not trying to figure out where someone has hidden a marker, down a hillside, in a thick, wooded area. So it was running through the woods with a purpose.

We weren’t alone. There were a few hundred others (not Cub Scouts; mostly outside adults). A lot of them looked like hardcore orienteer buffs, stampeding through the woods, with maps and compasses. The event was sponsored by Indiana Crossroads Orienteering, a group that holds these competitions every few weeks all around the state.

Our little ensemble of Scouts was lucky. One of the Scout dads is an orienteering expert. He can look at a map for 10 seconds and say: “OK, next we have to go 200 yards up this trail, take a right down the ravine, follow the creek for about 50 yards, and look for the control near a big rock.”

Of course, he didn’t say this every time. He wanted the Scouts to learn how to read the map, too. So mostly, he asked good questions, and acted as a coach.

How good of a coach? Well, within a half-hour, even Trail Boy could get the hang of it. And have some fun.

So that was what we did for three hours on Saturday: run, hike, bushwack, scramble and in general, behave like kids in the woods.

It was the perfect way to start a vacation.

On Sunday, I took a 45-minute run through the neighborhood, just enjoying putting one foot in front of the other, and breathing deeply. It felt great, even though I was running a little slower than a month ago.

And today? Well, the day is still young. I’ll probably get in a trail run before dinner.

No need to rush. I’m on vacation. Let’s enjoy it. Make it last.

Yep, it’s all coming back to me.


One Response to “I need it bad”

  1. Ahhh, vacations! Good for you.
    “just enjoying putting one foot in front of the other,” There’s a lot to be said for that.
    Enjoy your vacay!

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