Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I always have found our bodies to be amazing. One of the neat things about our bodies is the connection of smells and memory. One single smell can transport us to a whole different time of our lives. This happens to me a lot. Especially on my runs.

This morning a big semi-truck puffed out some nice black smoke for me to inhale. I was a little peeved at this, but as I ran through the muck I was reminded very vividly (or nasal-ly) of my running days in Guatemala. I spent 6 weeks there during the summer of 2001 - I did a nursing internship with other nursing students. It was very beautiful where we lived, but apparently they don't have any controls over car-exhaust. It was bad. So bad I often wondered if I was doing more harm than good by running. But I was training for my first (and only) marathon - that was to happen 6 weeks after I got back from Guatemala. So I had to run. In stinky, smelly, polluted air. I also remember the amazing and bold thunderstorms that struck each afternoon. 50% of my runs were in downpours. Loved it. 100% of my runs I encountered the Wild Dogs that roam that land. They creeped me out. Luckily I had a trusty running companion, a male at that, that made me feel secure - even if it was a false sense of security, it was better than nothing. It just boggles me that on my run this morning, in Colorado - so far from Guatemala, a smell can take me years back and miles away.

This isn't the only time it has happened. While here, in Colorado, I've run passed skunk smells and am reminded of my runs in up-state New York - where there were not only frequent skunks to be smelled but "herds" (at least that's what I called them!) of Wild Turkeys. They were Huge and They scared me.

I've also ran past aromas of pancakes and waffles and am instantly transported to my days of running in the Grand Teton National Park. I worked at a lodge there one summer and as I made my way back home I'd run pass the lodge and could smell all of the sweet morning concoctions being prepared.

I love our bodies. I love our sense of smell. I love our precious memories. And I love running. Everywhere.


erinmalia said...

i'm frequently brought back to my trip to europe through smells. i, too, love it.

Giggles said...

As much as I don't like running with a lot of cars around, certain car exhausts take me almost instantly to when I was walking the streets of Brazil. And I do love the memories.

Amateur Steph said...

My most fragrant run was in Hooper, utah. Cows, skunks, etc. It's not as pleasant to remember as your memories. Thanks for a good post!

runnerinsight said...

Everything seems to be a unique odor to us. So Smells like cow? like skunk? or anything? .. surely we still enjoy every run right? " )