I wasn’t running toward something new this weekend. In reality, I was running through the past, but with a new perspective.
I visited Washington DC this past weekend to see friends and had the opportunity to get in a run while there. Every time I’m in DC it opens my brain to the stupid What If game. My friends live in Arlington, VA so on Saturday I set out from their front door and went to find the running/biking path. I was warned it was going to be hilly and actually built it up in my head to be worse than it was. I left with the intention to run 4 miles since I had 10 to run on Sunday. Best laid plans can often get thrown out the window and I promptly ignored my Garmin telling me it was time to turn around. Thanks to signs on the trail I knew where I was in relation to parts of Arlington and how close to DC I was. I couldn’t help myself. Four and half years after leaving DC and I still love this city so much. The extra mile was worth it. The view on the bridge was spectacular even though it was hazy. Plus the clouds made it not horrible even though it was disgustingly humid. I love the views every time. They never grow old.
Saturday afternoon brought a wonderful backyard barbecue where I got to see a handful of my friends. I love that I go back and have so many wonderful people to visit. It’s not so much visiting as falling back into a different piece of my life. As this is a very active group of individuals it was lots of catching up on What are you training for? How’s your running? How far did you run this morning? and I’ve never been happier responding that I’m training for half marathons and it’s perfect for me. I don’t even feel the pull of the full marathon anymore.
On Sunday I went for another run. I had 10 miles to do so we drove to the Lyndon B Johnson Memorial Grove and cut over to the Mount Vernon Trail. As I was slugging along in pretty decent DC weather (warm, but not hot or horribly humid) I realized that six years ago I was running the same trail training for my first, and only, marathon. Those six years have flown by. I have no idea where that time has gone. When I was talking with friends on Saturday none of us could believe that I have been gone from DC for almost five years. I had no idea who I was and no idea what I was doing as a runner. I’ve come so far in so many different aspects of my life. DC will forever hold a special place in my heart. The run itself was nothing memorable and nothing special. I got 10 miles done, but I was running toward something, be it a memory.
Sunday afternoon was one of the most perfect days in DC I’ve had in years. Thai Phi and I went into the city to eat and walk around with no plans. We walked and talked and talked and talked. I miss having her so close, really miss it. It’s strange, especially considering we have spent more years of our friendship in separate cities, but it never feels like that. She’s an amazing friend who I can’t imagine my life without. I will forever be grateful to her for being such a great host for every trip I make back.
I used to cry every time I left DC but thankfully have moved beyond that. I have a lot to come back to in Milwaukee. DC was an integral part of my life and always will be. I said goodbye knowing I will see my friends in less than two months. The emotions hit me 24 hours later when I was reading Thai Phi’s blog while grocery shopping. I sometimes say I hate my emotions, but I’m mostly okay with being a sap. I mean, no one needs to be tearing up in the frozen food aisle, but I think I handled it okay and kept it to myself. I got to thinking about my life in DC and my life now and our discussions on Sunday. I love my life in Milwaukee and very honestly said I probably never would move back to DC, but there’s still a part of me that wants to even if it’s a fantasy and not a real desire, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it. I guess I’ll just keep on visiting.