My mom took this picture at 6:00 AM, right before we left the house to get to the West End Circle when it closed at 7:00 AM.
We left the house in plenty of time, got delayed by some deer who felt that they owned the road, and hit the West End Circle Exit at 6:59 AM EST.
And the exit was closed.
As was every entrance to get us anywhere close to the race area. We drove around for an hour. One police officer told us she had no idea how to tell us where to go and that we should have gotten there earlier. We followed a steady stream of cars like us, stuck in the same same eight block loop of nothingness. I don’t know if those care ever raced their race destination.
But by the time we left the city, the race was starting and the runners were heading up the hill into the West End Circle.
I cried, and I cried hard.
First of all, to get lost in a city that used to be yours, that used to be your stomping ground, that used to belong to you, is a punch to the gut. That was my city, my place. And now I don’t know it like I used to, and I got us lost more than a bunch of times. I felt embarrassed and heart-broken.
Secondly, if you know me, I deal with my anxiety and depression with running. To be denied that run on a day that I needed it most felt like a personal affront, a huge failure, a foreshadowing of things to come. Some people suggested that I should just spend time with family instead, except that I’m an introvert. I’d been spending time with the family all week and I needed 10 miles to let my thoughts sort themselves out, to let the grief make sense, to let the building anxiety release.
And then, to top it all off, I let my husband down. I just wanted to run in my favorite city, my hometown, with him.
I am heartbroken, and quite honestly, I’m allowed to be right now. The losses of my grandmothers, the losses of my only release, the loss of knowing left from right and up from down in my own city all sting more than a hornet on a hot summer run.
I went and ran 3.29 miles with tears streaming down my face once we got back to The Farm.
Everything feels a mess. Maybe I’ll run it next year. Maybe I’ll just quit.