It is entirely possible that I am taking that quote out of context, but taken on its face it describes perfectly my run today. The past two days I have allowed myself some "no agenda" runs. I run without a watch, without my iPod, without any goals, without any pacing and without any set course. The only thing to do is run.
You never know if you're going to barely make it 15 minutes before wheezing or if you're going to go 12 miles on the longest run of your life. Both have happened. Today, however, I managed almost 6 and 3/4 miles. Nothing especially outstanding in mileage, but I felt amazing the whole time. I live in a beautiful suburb full of architecturally distinguished old homes on tree lined streets, with a handful of lakes and lots of green space. The golden glow of the early evening light on 1920s brick Tudor and Georgian manses certainly elevates an ordinary run to a new level. As no soreness or aches or pains bothered me, one can see how Vonnegut's quote describes it perfectly. The day before on my "no agenda" run I had to walk. Today I floated. The beauty of the "no agenda" run is that neither is a failure and neither is a success. It just is.
I think "no agenda" runs also help to remind me why I do what I do. Other than the chance to run through a well-designed community (urban planning dorkdom!), running without a purpose lets me enjoy running for running's sake. I was getting frustrated with triathlon training earlier this month/end of last month, and sometimes one just needs the chance to remember that this can be fun.