Growing up on the east coast, we took a lot of school trips to Washington, D.C. It was only a few hours away, and it had a lot of inexpensive things to see and do. More than 20 years ago, I went on several of these trips and marveled at all of the people running. I would stare out the bus windows at all of the people running and crack jokes about how this town seemed to be perpetually in motion. This was during a period that I like to refer to as my "dark time." It was an era in which I did everything I could to avoid running. I was the queen of faking sick on the exact day in PE in which we were required to run a timed mile. A whole mile! Just the thought of having to run that mile was enough to turn my stomach for weeks in anxious anticipation.
Last night, I was running through my little neighborhood in Arlington. It was early evening, in the time just after most people are home from work, but before they've really gotten going in their dinner and household chores routines. Many of my neighbors were squeezing in their evening workouts and I was getting in my second run of the day for this asinine 50 mile training. I was stopped at a crosswalk waiting for a car to turn when it hit me. A realization hit me, not the car. I've come full circle. There's some poetic something or other in the fact that I am, at 37, running through the exact town that I marveled at in my youth. Not the exact exact town exactly. But close enough. I'm pretty sure that suburbia is too depressing to allow kids to tour it on school field trips. They might get the wrong idea about life. But I'm living close enough to the dream, right? The funny thing is, it wasn't even completely deliberate. I feel as if I stumbled to this place accidentally, and it just happens to have this weird cosmic kismet karmatic flow about it.
So here we are. The kid from rural Pennsylvania who faked being sick to get out of running a mile and would vomit uncontrollably before (and sometimes during) every big field trip because cities and people and noise produced so much anxiety that her stomach churned is now a woman living in a large city and training for a 50 miler.