Thoughts on Blacksburg

>> Friday, September 5, 2008

Around 5:30 tonight, I was pleased to find out during my jog around campus that I had managed to join a 5K race! It really didn't begin to occur to me until the 2nd random jogger I passed said "good job, keep it up!". I must say... if it weren't for the comment by the random lady standing on the side of the road with an official looking tshirt, I would have probably thought this is just normal Blacksburg etiquette! 

I don't think there could be a much more pleasant surprise than to find yourself joining a foot race. God must have known that I would need the encouragement given my almost 2 week absence of any kind of exercise. I decided to keep running past my normal turn around point. Almost in the same moment, a flood of runners came out of nowhere. By this point I had people on all sides of me, with several of the faster runners passing me in the opposite direction. They were smiling and very enthusiastic to spur me on... I realized later that I was at the tail end of the race, so I can see why they felt it was important to feed me with hope.

Amazingly, I passed a couple of the runners. I had no idea where the race began, but figured that it had to have been much closer to the duck pond (where I had recently passed) than to where I started downtown. I had already run about 15 minutes, and realized that I would then be just beginning my 5k race. I had a quick thought about whether or not this was a crazy idea, given that I am terribly out of shape... then thought... what the hell. I kept running passed the equine center and passed the pasture of horses and foals that I admire every morning on my commute into class. This must be some sort of breeding farm, since there are just as many foals as adult horses. They are absolutely beautiful. Since I can remember I have had a fascination with horses.. and I figured that I would sort of outgrow that feeling with maturity. I'm starting to think the opposite may even be true. 

I ran past the green houses, down a dirt path until I finally found myself back on a wide sidewalk. I realized then that I was on the huckleberry trail, and quickly scolded myself for not taking the time to explore it justly. It was beautiful.

After passing about 20 or 30 runners, I became comfortable with cheering them on as well. I laughed to myself throughout the run.. sometimes out loud... and thoroughly enjoyed feeling a part of something again. I have been lonely this month.. and with it I have felt a flood of emotions. All of the sudden, I had friends... and we were all united in a desire to finish the race. 

Once I made it back to the duck pond and within eyesight of the finish line, I realized that I would need to run another 15 minutes back to my car. Worse, I would have to give up the gig that I am not an actual race member and go it alone. I decided to embrace the nearing crowd of people with a smile and simply kept running. I remember verbally thanking a couple of them for all of their kind words. The rest of the run was hard, but I was determined to not stop. I only get a runner's high every now and then, but when I do there is little stopping me.

I passed the crowd of students downtown and weaved in and out of various dogs, kids and old people. I decided to stick to the periphery but still had a hard time not running into random slow walkers. The school is having its first big pep rally in front of the library to celebrate the game tomorrow, and celebrate they did. From what I witnessed, there was a rock climbing wall, a mechanical bull, a dj and dance team, the hokie bird, clowns and various other organizations representing tables. I must say I was impressed. 

Finally, after picking up some speed, I found myself back at my car downtown. I opened the door first thing to check the clock since I was more than curious about how long I had been running. To my surprise, it was only 45 minutes. I quickly figured that I either overestimated how long it took me to get to the race portion of my run, or I missed some loop along the way. Either way, I quickly decided I was ok with my run time and decided to be proud of myself for running more than three miles after not exercising in so long. I am hopeful now to take advantage of some time to run in the middle of the day while the weather is nice... 

So... Blacksburg has been fun. I went to a cookout last night that someone in my program hosted. I finally met most of the second years. I feel good about these people.. we spent the night drinking beer and eating hotdogs (surprisingly they are not all vegetarians!) and finally finished with foosball (which my partner and I dominated in) and the redskins game. Seemed like a completely normal night... I even think I may have made some good friends. 

But for now... there is still some loneliness. My gut says this will pass... maybe even soon... but my heart is still heavy. However, I appreciate these times. Life seems very real right now. Transitions are inevitable... and that's why we have blogs. :)


Peter September 8, 2008 at 11:45 AM  

That was funny. I can just imagine you running along giggling.

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Tia Nicole Photography has launched this summer after many practice photo sessions and the encouragement of some dear friends and family ("Life Through Tia's Lens" was a recommendation of my good friend, Kristin, who has been an avid supporter the whole way through!). This blog has documented the process from the beginning and also dates back to some older rantings during grad school and football seasons. Feel free to get to know me and my work. I like to focus primarily on natural shots, true emotions and beautiful landscapes. I also absolutely adore kids and pets so you will find a good bit of my work in these areas. Feel free to contact me anytime! I love blog comments!

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