On Running

Sometimes when I run I imagine I’m somewhere else.

I’m running through London, past Big Ben, past Parliament, in a misty summer rain. I’m there because I’m going to school there, and I’m writing theses in my mind as I cross through Hyde Park. I’m dreaming of what I aspire to be.

I’m running in dry heat, under palm trees and in between surfboards. I’m in Hawaii. I’m waving to locals like I am one. I’m envisioning the shave ice I’ll eat later. I’m dreaming of the vacation I’d go on right now.

I’m running at night, because it just feels like I should, and because the sky isn’t dark. I’m running in Norway under the Aurora Borealis. It’s cold but it doesn’t matter. The sky is fierce. I’m dreaming of the places on my bucket list.

I’m in California, flying up and down the hills. (That’s a dream for sure.) The Golden Gate is in the distance. I can see it because today it isn’t foggy. My closest friends all are with me, and they all love to run. I’m dreaming of community.

But really, I’m running down a shaded trail, parallel to a shining river. I know the people I’m passing – not by name but by the time of day we run. We’re the 5:15ers – maybe we all work from home and can get out to the trail that quickly. Maybe we’re teachers or night-shifters or stay-at-home parents. The young man with the compression socks. The roller-blading swim-suit-wearing woman. The dad with a running stroller and a kid with his hands in the air. And me.

These are the trails I could run while asleep, the spot where I tripped and skinned my knee like a child, the bench where I stretch my hamstrings when they’re acting up. I’m not dreaming. These streets are mine as they are yours. This is my place, for now or for longer.

This is my place, but these are my dreams.