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Ron Moore | Fermilab | USA

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Smells Like Cross Country

FabyanEast

The leaves were not so green when I ran here yesterday.

On a much needed vacation day away from Fermilab, I went for a nice run in one of my favorite nearby places, the east side of the Fabyan Forest Preserve. The leaves on the trees were bursting with fall color – a brilliant yellow that seemed to light up the woods. There are many trails snaking around the area, and I certainly prefer running on dirt trails rather than asphalt, sidewalks, or even a track.  Getting dirty running through a little mud, up and down hills, and jumping a log here and there builds character.

I’ve read that smells can be a powerful trigger of memories.  The slight musty odor of fallen leaves starting to decay certainly is a sign of autumn, but it means more than that to me – it smells like cross country running season.  Cross country races typically start in late August when summer can still be going strong.  But once the leaves start changing color and that smell wafts into your nose, the season is in full swing and the big championship races are on the horizon.  Having run cross country in high school (winning a PA state championship) and at Penn State (where our team finished 10th in the national championship race my 5th year and I was an Academic All-American), that smell stirs my soul and always puts an extra kick in my step even after 20+ years.

Breathe deep – it’s that time of year again.

I think I will need another day off soon to run through the woods before the trees lose all of their leaves.


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