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Most runners I know have mileage and speed goals. They plan their running sessions strategically and rely on routine. Whatever. Depending on what drives you, I suppose there’s a place for that. But I need the fun factor to be high in order to stick with it. This weekend, I ran with friends, which always helps me stay motivated. And we changed things up from the normal routine. We called it the Muse Run. Essentially, we took five-minute turns leading—calling which direction to turn—and the entire experience was like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates…”you never know what you’re gonna get.” As a result of our spontaneity we ran through a renovated shopping district decked in lights and Duke gardens (which I’ve always wanted to do). We ran past students camping on the lawn near Cameron stadium presumably to get Duke/UNC tickets sometime after Christmas (they hang out there for weeks to be among the first in line), down (and up) stadium steps to do a lap around the track and through the Duke campus quad. We stopped briefly to peek inside the Duke University Chapel and to give directions to a couple of lost drivers. We ran through a series of Christmas trees decorated by various non-profits in a theme that matched their mission (picture Habitat for Humanity’s tree with hard hats as ornaments), and ended at the Farmers’ Market downtown. It was full of laughter over the crazy last-second directional shifts and the time passed quickly. I think life should be more like this. Less planned, more social and guided by the inspiration of friends who also want to make life more fun.

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