More Than Just Running

Written by ALI AL-NAHI

One of my favorite things in life is running. Whether I’m trying to release stress after a tough study session or just do something healthy for my body, I find that running is good for me in many ways. I start out slow and ease myself into longer strides and find a pace that fits me that day. Sometimes this is an agonizing pace with many different mile markers and different splits that I have to meet. These runs push my mind and body right from the get-go. Other times, I go for a simple jog just so I can feel that endorphin rush when I’m done. Regardless, I feel productive and stronger afterwards!
I love scenery when I run. It keeps things interesting and I can actually see myself progress further and further away from a reference point (unlike on a treadmill). One of my favorite go-to routes here in Austin is a route I discovered as a pacer for the 2012 Longhorn Run. It starts out right between Gregory Gym and Jester West, and loops around north campus for a really good 10k. There are only a handful of intersections to hold me back, and most of the roads in north campus are very quiet.. Also, the houses in the neighborhood along 42nd St. are gorgeous out front. Some of the residents take great care of their gardens which are beautiful! This makes for a great distraction about three miles into the run.

In addition, one of my favorite parts about 42nd St. is the initial turn onto the road. There is a van that I have to this day neverseen move (EVER) in my two years running this route. It is painted very much like the “Mystery Machine” from Scooby Doo;  touched it once. It’s just a unique thing to look forward to during these runs, the van that never moves.
This route is great because it hits around West Campus, North Campus, near the stadium, and it loops around Dean Keaton and San Jacinto. It was a great way for me to get to know the immediate area around the university during my freshman year. There are several hills throughout the run, along MLK, Harris Ave,  and 21st  which are always my motivation to dig deeper and fight. It’s a challenge and a thrill, and the finish coming off of San Jacinto back onto 21st the absolute best/worst finish you can hope for. It contains a steep hill that appears to go on forever! By the time I’m done, I have nothing left!

I share this route in hopes that you can find some joy in your next run as well. If running is not your sport, I hope this short article gives you the confidence or inspiration to go out and find something that helps you find peace and unwind. It’s important that we find time for ourselves, even with a rush of jobs, classes, and organizations keeping us busy. Also, if you take a picture of yourself touching the landmark van, send them to: nsc.catalyst.chair@gmail.com. We might just post them in the next Catalyst issue!

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