Yesterday I completed my longest run yet in the preparation for 26.2 miles. 12 miles used to seem inconceivable—l mean—growing up in Murrieta, everywhere I needed to go was less than 12 miles away from my house. My high school was 1.5 miles away and the pizza shop where I worked part time was 3; the mall was 6; my boyfriend’s house was 7. Getting into half marathons in the last couple years, 12 miles meant I was almost done. Now, 12 miles isn’t even half way to where I need to be.
But I’m enjoying the way my routes take me to views I’ve never experienced by foot. I notice things about my city that I’ve never noticed before. The smell of thick green bushes with white flowers that remind me of our world famous Zoo. The graveyard of fruits fallen from trees my refugee parents’ say they used to eat back in the old country, strewn on the pavement; thumb-sized yellow bodies mashed into the ground. My Nike’d feet tried to avoid the seeds that remained roasting in the sun.
I pass car stores with immigrant names like Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Maserati. But unlike immigrant people, the stores sit comfortably in rich communities where Asian tourists peered in through the glass at the models on display.
But every street I looked down, whether it was a newly remodeled mansion or a weather-worn cottage sitting at the corner, I had the most beautiful view of ocean and palm trees. Each restaurant patio was filled with people enjoying sunshine and sidewalks with families headed for the beach.
I am not a professionally trained runner; but I’m not sure a trainer could help me enjoy running more than I already do. I love the feeling of discovery that running allows me—a discovery of self, a discovery of the world—and the connection of the two.