It’s been a long time coming with me and running (but more on that in a later blog).
For about a year now, my focus has been 13.1 miles, a perfect distance, in my opinion, to feel a huge sense of accomplishment but still be mobile later the same day. I personally have no goals to double that, EVER (just had to get that on the record for my inaugural blog post).
It’s fall. The weather is cooler. The calendars are packed with running events. As I heard and read about all these fall races–especially the half marathons–I was questioning my decision to run a half in my hometown instead of say, run 13.1 in the Windy City dressed like a zombie, or 13.1 in SF to be greeted by handsome tuxedoed eye-candy, or maybe even 13.1 flanked by Boston Strong.
But yesterday, as I ran a PR over 13.1 miles of pavement in my home town, I had no regrets. Here are 13.1 reasons why.
1) I lined up to run in front of my high school’s field house (where I spent many a tortured hour not being able to run around the .25mi track or having to wear a bathing suit in a co-ed swim class) without any self-esteem baggage.
2) I got to run past the public housing complex that I called home for the first 5 years of my life and felt hopeful that the folks cheering from the doorways would also someday feel as secure in food, shelter, and good health as I am.
3) I got to run past the construction site where until recently stood my birthplace.
4) I got to run past an intersection I have cursed for many years, delighted to see that traffic lights are soon to go up.
5) I got to run past blocks and block of glorious old cotton mills that have been reinvented–much like I am trying to I reinvent myself to be a fit person–for modern times.
6) I got to run by the school of engineering that attracted my immigrant dad to this town and reminisce about the days when we were the only people in the town with our last name.
7) I got to run by the temples and the ethnic groceries that reminded me of how many more immigrants have followed in the 40 years since to make this town the rich melting pot that it is.
8) I got to run past the site of the old factory where my mother worked 12-18 hrs/day until her hands were raw so that she could help save up for our college educations.
9) I got to run past the laundromat where we used to our laundry when I was very young and wondered how it was that I became the brat for whom a second floor laundry room was a deal breaker in the most recent house hunt.
10) I got to run across a bridge that they told us was temporary in 1986 without falling into the water underneath.
11) I got to run past the local general hospital ED (where I spent many an hour being evaluated for a broken bone or an unnecessary but acutely inflamed vestigial organ) and was neither a patient nor a provider.
12) I got to appreciate the river front path that I now realize I foolishly ignored for twenty years when I could have been running (or at least walking) along it.
13) I got to see my mommy and daddy at the end. They still don’t get why I would want to run 13.1 just for fun but it was great to be there with them in this town.
0.1) Memories with every footstep.