Because I live life on the road so much I have a hard time calling one particular place home. As a kid, my family bounced around from the east coast, to the mid west, to overseas, back to the middle of the country, then back east and then once more time to the Midwest.
On my own, I went to South America, then back east for a year of university and then ended up back in the Midwest… man, just talking about moving makes me tired. And now somehow I ended up with a job traveling the mid-Atlantic. So, when I’m running in a random city I rarely feel like I know where I’m going. I feel like I’m just constantly getting myself lost in hopes of a few things: getting a good run in, seeing the city, and maybe discovering something cool.
Rarely do I feel like I own a city. I don’t get a feeling of personal attachment to one particular place. However, I may have had that feeling last week on a run around the Inner Harbor. It was my second long run of the day and I needed to accomplish and hour and half of foot time, at 5pm I took off out the door of my apartment building and just started running, first to the harbor, then to the left through little Italy—being Friday evening, the weekend of Valentines day, I had to dodge couples and gaggles of single women lining up for Happy Hour, I had to weave my way between cars around Whole Foods until I finally made it to Boston street where things open up a little bit.
Boston runs right along the harbor where boats float in the icy February water, tied to the pier, begging to be let free to sail away. The water looked crisp, the air was fresh but not too cold. The temperature was warm for February, above 35 so I had shorts and a jacket, my favorite running attire. I ran and ran, Vampire Weekend was blasting my ears and keeping my cadence high and light. I ran, I ran and ran. The sun blasted orange over the water and reflected back turning the sky into an explosion that I wish I had been able to capture, (yet alas, my fancy camera phone was left behind—along with all other form of communication, what a glorious feeling!)
At my turn around point I stop to stretch a bit, to admire the other Friday evening runners, to take notice of what a dog friendly city Baltimore is. After a few moments I hop back into my pace, quickening it bit, getting into my grove, setting a bit of a faster speed for my journey back along the Promenade.
At this point, I find myself on a wooden surface jutting out straight toward the water, a perfect view of the setting sun, Vampire Weekend loud and optimistic in my headphones—I have the biggest, cheessiest grin on my face. I can only imagine what other runners think of my smile, but I don’t care. I feel good. I feel comfortable. I feel like Baltimore is a city I love to run in. The wooden planks under my feet are my favorite surface to run on, they make a happy noise under foot and spring me forward to continue on to complete my route that is wrapping around past Power Plant’s Barnes & Noble, by the Aquarium and to my goal—Russel Schipper. I can see the red neon lights; my pace gets more excited as it creeps closer.
Now it’s dark, lights reflect and double on the glass smooth water. No boats are sailing out to sea tonight. The mile back to my apartment from the end of the harbor was tough. An hour and half run after an hour morning work out was hard—but inspired. The city inspired me and kept my feet moving. It put a smile on my face that was the genuine smile of…dare I say? A runner’s high.
*Photos by Andrew Durand