“LADY, WILL YOU WAKE THE F*@k UP AND GIVE ME YOUR TICKET!?!?!” a Brooklyn voice jolts me awake.
“Oh sorry,” I mumble as I wipe the drool off the left side of my face, “Early morning, here you go.”
“Yeah, you’re telling me” the train conductor mumbles as he walks away.
Typically when someone thinks of running I bet they don’t understand the travel that goes into it. Hell, even I would never have guessed I would be riding trains at 5:03 in the morning to get to an 8am race in the city.
I started running when I lived in Allentown Pennsylvania, I could find different races every weekend and would almost always run into the same people at these races. It became a routine, almost a sick and twisted run club with competition. Run all week then find a local 5k to 10 mile race to compete against the same people I ran with the week before.
I began winning 5k’s in 2013, I almost always placed at the top of my age group and occasionally broke the exclusive club of the top three. It was comfortable at the top, but I was not being challenged. My times plateaued and I got complacent.
Finally in 2015 I decided to branch out. I signed up for the lottery to run the Nike Woman’s 15k in Toronto and low and behold I got in. This would be my first major race and it scared the shit out of me, but it introduced me to the world of traveling for races, a lifestyle I have embraced ever since. With bigger venues brought more competition. I found myself no longer winning, but coming in the start of the middle of the pack.
Traveling excited me, new cities, new things to explore, better competition. I started planning multiple “runcations”, and kept looking ahead to my next race. I signed up for my first marathon at Chicago and found that picking a destination race made me train harder. I had all these plans, hotel rooms booked, I could not mess this up. I found for runcations I could not back down, I could not roll over I had to show up, and I had to train hard to get there. It made 6am runs worth it, and 9pm sprints suck a little less.
Plane rides have become part of the job and I love every moment of it! Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago, Utah, I love the escape, the challenge, and the change of scenery. The flat islands of Toronto, to the hills of San Francisco, the concrete streets of Chicago, to the dusty paths of Utah – traveling has let me take it all in. Have you ever seen Boston during the Boston Marathon weekend? If not I recommend it, the streets feel alive with the energy of unicorns.
I even consider visiting the 5 boroughs of NYC traveling. I have seen the cutest shops in Brooklyn, overlooked central park in the snow, climbed the hills of Staten Island, saw the word fair in queens, and been utterly creeped out in the Bronx. I have been on trains at 5 am
and shared bagels with homeless before race starts. Each borough feels like a vacation in itself even if I am only an hour away from home.
This past weekend on the way to the city I found myself watching an Italian surf video on my iPad while I browsed plane tickets to Seattle on my phone. I never knew that running would led me to see all corners of the US, but I am more than happy it did. My times have improved and my competition became international. I no longer run one town, I run the world. Its an exciting, crazy, but beautiful life, might as well enjoy it.
Till the next adventure.