On the Trail: A year on the run
September 8, 2006
How do you wrap your hands around a whole year? How do you account for 12 months that came and went so fast that you hardly noticed when your birthday came and went.Twenty six. Where’d 25 go?Wait. What about all the morning runs? What about all the times you rolled out of bed – sometimes spry, most of the time groggy, a couple of times hung over – to put on your running shoes and head out the door.You run the same route nearly every time, but each jog was different. Sometimes you struggled up the hill back to your apartment. Other times, you’d barely started breathing heavily by the time you got back to your door.Maybe that’s an easy way to measure a year: the days you were in shape, the weeks you spent working to get to that point, and then, of course, the weeks you took off, before starting all over again.There were the smoldering days in the middle of the summer when you felt like you were going to melt into the pavement, waving to cars as you ground up that hill, sweat and sunscreen dripping off your face. There were the crisp days in the spring, once the crowds had left, where you found yourself alone with the leaves, the wind and the sun on the back of your neck.There were even the runs on warm days in late winter – those mornings when it felt like the whole town was one big freeze pop left out in the sun, everything melting, small braids of water running across the trail in all directions. Now it’s fall again, which reminds you of this same time last year. For those first couple of weeks, those runs were a respite, a chance to sneak away for a bit and forget about everything for a full half hour. Which, come to think of it, is the same reason you still head out the door. So much has changed in 12 months. You feel so much more comfortable with the town and the job. You’re even comfortable with the fact that, at 26, you’re still as confused as ever about where you think you’re headed in this life.Where are you going? It’s a question you ask yourself often, although there never seems to be a clear-cut answer.Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to lace up the running shoes and head in the same direction you’ve gone so many times before.