Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


Vast cornfields, low-hanging fog, the occasional deer, more trees than even God can count, small dirty houses on 10 acres of land, a gravel company, an Irish golf course, an Amish farm, a tractor-trailer company, more cornfields, 15 cars in 8 miles… such a relaxing long run on a Friday morning. Western New York is ingrained my bones. It'll never leave.

Growing up in Western New York, I couldn't wait to leave. Now that I have been living elsewhere for almost 10 years, Western New York calls to me, especially when I'm stressed. It calls to me quietly but with such a strong and powerful force. The trees give way to cornfields that end at more trees. My feet hit the pavement at 7:15am in a place where sidewalks don't exist. The trails in the woods are hidden so I don't bother heading out under the tree cover for fear of getting lost. Just me, the open road and the rows and rows of corn.

Last night I sat on the enclosed porch with all the windows open listening to the crickets surrounding the house. Walking outside, it was so dark that every star was easily spotted in the black sky. There were no lights impeding their twinkling. There was nothing, aside from the sound of the occasional car and barking dog.

Today, the road and I were friends. We worked together to make sure I felt like I was flying. My Bikilas were gliding over the asphalt. My music was enlightening my cadence. The fog told me the sun was trying to break through. I watched for cars to make sure they saw me. I checked my breathing and made sure my stride was in check, my feet were touching down correctly. My body was a well-oiled machine. My mind was happy.

Around mile 4, I passed an Amish house and looked over to see a little boy about the age of four standing on his porch in black pants, bright blue button-down, suspenders and his pants open watering the flowers. It made me giggle and forget about the hill I was climbing. So unassuming… just taking my time while finding some interesting scenery. No thought to how my body felt, just knew I wanted to keep going.

At the end of my run, I saw my parents' house about half a mile away and knew it was time to make things happen. I kicked it into high gear, pushed my body past its limits and sprinted like I was heading for a finish line. I felt that amazing… like I could do anything. I finally understood what it felt like when people told me they wanted to just keep running.

Tonight, as my dad and I took my 2-year-old niece on a scooters/dirt bikes, we rode over to the Genesee River and sat in chairs covered in peeling paint and rust. I looked to my right to see Amish gentlemen fishing in the river in their full beards, black hats and bright blue shirts with suspenders on their black pants. Probably finding something delicious for dinner. Where else do you see that every day?

Western New York is peaceful. People drive slower, have less stress, enjoy life. They take in the scenery and force you to do so. I learned a lot from my run today… a lot about how I need to take in everything around me instead of always worrying about where my next step will take me. 

Written: Friday, August 5, 2011

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