They say that if one looks hard enough, she’ll find that no two days are ever the same, and that could not be any truer than in New York—Manhattan in particular—the city that never sleeps. How could have I ever thought that running was boring? Not in Manhattan at least. Yes, here, where you see people take to the runners’ tracks/paths at just about every street. Where seeing runners is just about as regular as commuting or walking. Where runners come in different shapes—the really fit ones, those just starting out, different shades of blond, different sizes of breasts (that bounce or not), those running with their dogs or their partners (spouse or sweetheart), tall ones, little ones, thin, big, young, and old … even those you would not expect to run (so fast at that) for having some form of motor disability or another.
Perhaps it’s the air, or simply how the city is built (streets are carefully laid out to make for safe running), or maybe it’s the steep price of gym membership that push people out into the streets, parks, and tracks to run rather than be cooped up inside—regardless of rain or snow, heat wave or perfect weather (specially on a perfect weather) … whatever it is, Manhattan is one huge track and field where you can bump into a runner at any time of day (morning, noon, and night), rain or shine…
And you just feel a sense of affinity with all the other runners you cross paths with. You know their pain. And for one who’s just starting out in this sport, there is deep respect for those who run fast, pass you in the process, and leave you running in their trail. Then there is the sense of accomplishment when you keep at it, despite the aching muscles and joints, when you push yourself beyond your limits … the runners passing you become a source of inspiration. You think to yourself, One day I’ll pass them, and a beginner too. Maybe the affinity is just in my head. Maybe they don’t care. But so what? For as long as I feel it, then I own it. And for as long as it makes sense to me, it does not matter what they think. If I find some source of inspiration from them, so much the better for me.
I have yet to realize if I will find a deeper or higher purpose to this ritual. For now, I just want to be healthy and strong, and of course lose some weight in the process (hopefully). But I am certain of one thing: when I’m out there doing my run, I feel free. For that two, or four, or six miles, with the wind touching my skin, while I hear myself breathe and I feel the ground underneath me, as each foot pounds on the pavement one at a time, I feel really alive—like I know that regardless of what’s going on outside of myself, inside me I know I am living this moment in time.
Maybe that’s ascribing too much philosophy on running, but then again that’s just me. And whatever floats our boat, right? This running thing has definitely helped my boat sail just a little bit faster, just a little bit steadier.