Who Moved My Mile Markers!!!!!!!!!!!
When I first started to run I ran the Long Beach boardwalk. Originally I could only manage the first half a mile and then I turned around and ran/walked back from where I came. It was a quarter mile warm up from my house until I got to the boardwalk, then a half-mile jog on the boardwalk, then I would walk the quarter mile home. As I improved my distance I was able to run as far as the Playground on Magnolia Boulevard along the boardwalk. 2 miles. It took me months to be able to run a round trip. 2.1 miles there and 2.1 miles back. It was a monumental achievement to be able to continuously run 4.2 miles. Imagine the ocean and beautiful sandy beach on one side and buildings to block the wind on the other. Since I run the speed of a turtle I had plenty of time to meditate and enjoy the beauty on my runs.
When I trained for the marathon I would run from my house to the boardwalk. I’d run to the end 2.5 miles and run off for another mile until I got to the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Then I’d turn around and run back. I’d run off the other end of the boardwalk and run to the end of Point Lookout and back. It was 9.8 miles from one end to another with barely any cars for interference. For years I knew exactly where to run to in order to complete whatever workout I had planned.
Every runner, expert or novice knows the distance. If someone were to ask how far did you run? The answer is always specific. One mile, 4.3 miles, 6 miles, whatever the total mileage was. To this tree is 2.1 miles, or to that hill and back, 10 miles. It becomes a silent gage of fitness level whenever you run to a certain spot and back.
It is the one constant, the solid measure of achievement or disaster on any given run.
Abilities change, out fits change, weather changes, but the distance remains the same.
Then Super Storm Sandy hit and the boardwalk and much of the town was destroyed. My lovely city of Long Beach, even ten months later, still does not have all of its residents back. The sand and streets have for the most part been returned to where they belong, but the people and the boardwalk have not.
I have no more mile markers!
I can no longer run from here to there without thinking about how far I’ve gone. The streets next to where the boardwalk was are too congested to run on so I’ve had to choose other routes. Every time I change my route I must make a conscious effort to figure out the distance. Instead of contemplating world peace on my regular route I’m worried about actual distance. It’s frustrating!!! It becomes a chore to constantly have to think about how far it is to run to this point and back.
There is good news on the horizon. The boardwalk is slowly being replaced. One block at a time it is growing. As the distance on the boardwalk increases so does my ability to stop worrying about how far I’ve run. I can get back to the task at hand.