So this might be boring to all - except me. So I write this for me. :) I had these thoughts last week as I was out running and wanted to write them all down.
Running is important to me. I truly love it. I always hesitate in calling myself a runner because I feel like I don't look like one. But, really, what does looks have to do with it, right?! I run every week, have run a marathon, have done 3-4 half-marathons, and many other racing events. I run in the winter and in the cold - just not in the heat of the summer (hello 5:30am summer runs!). So perhaps I can call myself a runner even if I don't have those long slender legs nor those lovely toned calves that I would love!
So I've mentioned several racing events I have done - a marathon, 1/2s, etc. While those have all been pretty good experiences, they usually aren't what I remember when I think of running. When I think of running, I think of the different locations I have lived in and what my runs were like there. Each place I have lived, since my late teens, I have run. Each place very unique.
I'll start with Jackson, Wyoming. I lived at Jackson the first summer after my freshman year of college. My sister had worked there (my mom had even worked on a dude-ranch there years ago. . . :) and so I did what any little sister would do: I worked there, too. I worked at the restaurant at Jackson Lake Lodge. It was kind of crazy - my boss was a complete alcoholic (and not a funny one; rather a despicable one). And a lot of other kids were drunks and there just to party. I was there to hike and live in the beautiful Tetons. Anyways. . . I went running most every morning or evening, depending on my work schedule. I was always scared of running in to wildlife. Luckily I never did see a bear on my runs, but I did come across many a moose. I would either change my direction, or anxiously run by. Moose made me nervous, but at the same time they are so common place there that it was just a given to see them. As I would make my way back to my dorm I would run by the lodge. There was a little cafe inside that made pastries, served coffee, etc. Oh it smelled really good. And now when I go running I usually end up running past our local Coffee Trader - and it always takes me back to running in the Tetons.
Next I'll talk about Connecticut. I worked there one summer as a camp-nurse of sorts (I had barely started the nursing program - if at all? - and was originally hired as the nurses' assistant. Well, the RN quit after 1 or 2 weeks and so I was left "in charge." Luckily I mostly had to deal with homesickness from cute little girls. I could handle that.) Anyways. . . it was kind of crazy, too - again, all the "staff" (seasonal employees) mainly came to get drunk, hook up, and party. I was such an outsider here - at least in the Tetons there was a good group of people with my same morals. Here, I had found one that had similar morals - pretty much everyone else had none. I did get to go running every morning. Running in the east was hard - as my sister can attest to. It never, in the summer, is crisp and cool in the morning. It's already muggy and feels warm - even at 6am. Also, I could never see anything but. . . trees! It was densely amazing. Finally, my hair would have these little ringlet curls all around my face - due to the humidity. It was funny and awesome.
I went to Guatemala for about 6 weeks for a "study-abroad" nursing experience. Running there was definitely memorable. I never went on a weekday morning because we'd get up early (something like 5) and walk a few miles to the hospital. We'd work/observe/whatever at the hospital for 4 or so hours and then walk back. We'd always stop at the awesome town of Antiqua, which was were we lived (just not in the "downtown" area). We'd get lunch (though I lived mainly on tortillas and Luna Bars), shop, look around, and do our spanish-class (I so hated that since I'm horrible with learning languages!). So my running there always took place in the afternoon - when I was tired and it was hot and humid! But I was training for my marathon a couple months away and was on a specific schedule that I wanted to somewhat stick to. It was definitely hot, however afternoon thunderstorms could be counted on and they definitely helped cool things off a bit. The pollution there was terrible - no restrictions on the amount of exhaust that could come out of one's car! Ugh. I always thought, "I'm I healthier for running here, or less healthy for all that crud I'm breathing in?!" But the one thing I hated most were the feral dogs there. I don't know if they were truly feral, but I'm pretty sure they had no home but the streets. They were so skinny and ugly and so scary! Luckily I had a good friend there with me, Brian, and he'd usually run with me - and scare the ugly dogs away. Thank heavens for him. Whenever I get an overload of exhaust-smell, I think of my running in the streets of Guatemala!
Of course I ran in Provo. Doesn't everybody? I mean, no matter what time of day or night it is, someone is out running. I kid not. I liked the run up to the temple - that was always nice. But the most memorable run I have in Provo was when I got up real early (5am, or perhaps even 4-something) to run with my great friend Aubrey. She was heading out on a long airplane trip (to England) and wanted to get in some exercise before she just had to sit and sit and sit. So of course I'd said I'd go with her. It was an awesome run - dark, cool, and totally rainy. We were soaked by the end of our run. That was a great run.
I got married and then lived in what will probably be the nicest neighborhood we will ever live in - Sugarhouse. It was dreamy running the streets of our neighborhood because every house was just beautiful. Not overly huge, but oh so, so, so nice. Most were brick houses and I adore brick houses. All had wonderful yards and delightful styles. This wasn't a new neighborhood and so the houses were unique and full of character. I was probably slow because I was always gawking at the lovely homes.
Then we moved to Grand Junction, CO. Not to knock GJ, but it was quite the opposite of where we lived in Utah! I adored our little house and we have so many wonderful memories of that home, but the neighborhood just didn't compare (obviously there are nicer neighborhoods in GJ). There were a few nice homes amid the run-down and uncared-for homes. Green grass was a luxury there. I did run with some good friends, Dan and Katie, on some cool paths - but other than that, nothing really sticks out about my running here.
Next stop, New York. Not the city, but up-state New York. Our town was called Maine and it was the country, in my opinion. We found an adorable home, definitely off the beaten-path, and enjoyed our brief one-year stay there (while we enjoyed home-life and such, Ben's work-life was pretty miserable - thus the one-year only stay). I was back east and so the little ringlet curls returned in my hair. I also missed my crisp, cool mornings in the summer. But if I ever wanted a chance to run in the snow, this was the perfect place! Not only snow, though, extreme coldness, too! Like negatives. I ran no matter the weather, really - even when it was -10. When we first moved out there we just had one car. So I usually ended up taking Ben to work (with itty-bitty Miles, too) and would pick him up. On the way back from picking him up he would drop me off about 3-4 miles from our home and I would run home - practically all of it up-hill, until the final 1/2 mile descent on our street to our home. I remember one run in particular: it was very cold and very snowy. But whatever. So I ran. But it just got snowier and snowier. To the point that I could no longer see and just had to keep my head down because of the snow falling right at my face - and the chill, too. It was crazy. And I was getting wet. I probably was about 1/2 way home when my neighbor (Liz - loved her and her whole family!) drove up, pulled over and said, "I don't care what you say, you are getting in this car right now and I am driving you home." I didn't object one bit. But I was always associate running in New York with turkeys. Wild Turkeys. Big Wild Turkeys. There were herds of them (herds? I don't know. flocks?) and they were scary! Remember, I'm scared of birds? Can you imagine then having to run by about 2 dozen birds that are almost as tall as you! I learned if I made some type of ridiculous noise, they would scatter. Yay! Although I know there were some runs that I just turned around and went another way because of those darn turkeys. Good gravy (haha, get it?).
Then we came here, Montrose. Our neighborhood is similar to the neighborhood in GJ, but maybe a little nicer? Our home is definitely nicer and bigger. But we live in the "downtown" area and so, again, the houses are hits and misses when it comes to being nice. I try to run more in the direction of the nicer areas when I run here. When I do my long runs on Saturday I always run by this spot that smells like fox (which smells a lot like skunk). Sadly, last week on my run I had to run right past a dead fox. It was a little nerve-wracking, really. There was no place I could run that I wouldn't be close to it. Yuck. Sad. I will admit that I was happy a car drove past it (not over it) a few seconds before I got to it - it didn't flinch and so I at least knew it was dead-dead. I mean, I wouldn't want a maimed fox chasing me! Ha. Of course I'll always remember the run where the crazy, psychotic lady chased me down and sent her pack of yorkies to attack me. What a weirdo.
Anyways, there are some of the ups and downs and all-arounds of my running history. Some great memories of just me and my running.
P.S. Erin (kuddos if you make it here!), there is some where white-out in the GJ section. I only see it when publish the post - not in the editing section. Do you get the white-out, too? Any idea why? Can you fix it?!