It was a simple kiss and a hug at the trailhead that set the tone for what was to follow, but I don’t think either of us had any semblance of an intimate vibe at the time.

Or maybe it was impossible not to.

I was planning to meet my boyfriend for a Friday afternoon trail run in what we had come to consider the perfect way to end a busy week. I had been slammed with work; he had been traveling. We had talked and texted over the previous week, but it wasn’t until that kiss that I realized how much I had missed him.

Trail running was one of the things we shared since we’d met—long before we came to know each other intimately, but I suspect the passion for running hours on end through the wild was certainly something that spurred our connection and led to us falling in love.

It was a hot afternoon and when we started off by running uphill, we both immediately noticed the heat. I was wearing a pair of boyshorts, a sports bra and a tank top, but it was so hot I had wished I’d left the tank back at my car. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, but they caught my eye because they seemed to be shorter and skimpier than the ones he normally wore. When he took off his T-shirt moments into the run, my mind raced and I felt a spark of energy shoot through my body.

“Wow, it’s hot out here,” he said. “Has it been this hot all week?”

It hadn’t been that hot all week, or I hadn’t noticed it. What was more peculiar was that we usually only talked about the weather when we were dancing around something else in conversation.

I quietly wondered if that kiss stirred his soul like it had mine.

As we continued on the run, we found our groove and reconnected, falling into a familiar rhythm that was a blend of raw physicality, emotional presence and a distinct sense of flow. Like everyone else, work stress, life stress and a gazillion other things could interrupt that calm, connected state of being, but the trails were always our Zen place and it never took more than a mile or so to immerse in that state of flow together.

We chatted a bit as we ran, and yet we were quiet for long stretches too as we ran a favorite route that became increasingly more remote. We were two physical beings running in unison—over the same rolling dirt trails, hopping over the same rocks and nimbly leaping over the same roots—and with a synergistic chemistry as perhaps only two trail runners (who happen to be intimate lovers, too) can do.

After 25 minutes of running, we stopped at a trail junction, and, without saying a word, he kissed me. Passionately. And I melted. We continued kissing, and immediately it created a wave of romantic excitement that escalated without any discussion. We moved off the trail behind a massive rock and immersed in a very prurient and hopefully relatively private moment of intimate connection. (No one could see us from our hidden locale, but then again we weren’t really paying attention or really all that concerned.)

And it was hot. And amazing.

No, I’m not going to share the details, but you can probably imagine for yourself that we wound up sticky, dirty and exhausted. And by dirty, I mean there were pine needles and wood chips in awkward places, dirt under our fingernails and bits of dead leaves stuck to our skin inside our running shorts.

We weren’t intent on engaging in an egregious public display of affection. Not at all. It was a purely spontaneous happening that sprung from a single kiss out on a run. (OK, the first one was the tone-setter, so it was really two kisses.)

I’m not sharing this tale to engage your salacious lust, except to say it’s clear that running can create emotional bonds and be the catalyst to an intimate connection—even if it’s not carried out in such a spontaneous manner while hidden ever-so-slightly off trail.