Friday, November 9, 2007


This is where I’ll be running the Kids Chance 5K tomorrow morning, God willing. And I think I’m going to need God on this one. My heart is faltering a bit more than I’d like. Despite the new shoes my shins were really hurting after Thursday’s workout which was a pretty simple circuit routine since it was Bring a Friend Day so hardly any pavement running at all. And emotionally my heart feels very defeated. Hardly an ideal frame of mind. But when I searched for images of the park and saw this one I felt somewhat reassured. Perhaps I’ll be able to let go of some of the angst that has been gripping so tight when I’m steeped in a place of such beauty. And history. This park is right behind my old high school. And behind the VA Hospital where I volunteered as a teenager. And behind, on the other side, the primate research facility where I worked one summer in college. I have spent a lot of time in that park. Skipping school and crossing the railroad tracks to burst into the freedom of the sheltering forest. Shyly walking hand in hand with boys I liked, or simply coveting their attention amongst a larger group. Striding with defiance, alone, rejecting the “establishment” of my family and my school for the wild ache of adolescence. Ambling in quiet, yet strident contemplation of my place in the world during that summer of college, feeling like surely no one before me had ever felt things as deeply as I did.

It has been at least 15 years since I have set foot in that park. My connections with those earlier iterations of me are becoming more tenuous. But they are still there. And I can say with some confidence that I don’t ever think I could have imagined myself running a race in those woods at the ancient age of 35. I’m certain I didn’t anticipate that at such a thoroughly adult age I would still feel lost so much of the time.

In retrospect, I hope I do connect with that still malleable younger me. She had a lot of things right in terms of priorities. Things which have gotten muddled in the years of racing to meet goals and responsibilities since. If I find her, if she travels with me for a spell on this race, I think I’ll do ok.

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