"Everything is walking distance, if you have the time." - Steven Wright
It's that time of year when I start to consider the length of the runs that I take around the streets and lanes of my neighborhood. I don't think too much about ten kilometers. That's how far I run once a year: the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It's the organized, measured race that I participate in each year, and right about now is the time of year when they send me an application, just to remind me that I could run ten kilometers. If I wanted to.
The rest of the year I satisfy myself with the distance that time permits. That generally clocks in somewhere around three to four miles two or three times a week. These are generally loops that use my front gate as a starting and finish line. Occasionally my family and friends coax me into more directional routes that take me from one place to another. "Let's run over to the Lake," or "Let's run the trail up at Roberts Park." But mostly it's just me, running in circles.
Last week I had a memory of my first and only interview for a teaching position. The weekend before, I looked at a map of the area to get a rough idea of where the school was, strapped my son in our jogging stroller, and trotted off into the unknown. I had some vague idea of how far away the school was, but a number of dead ends and a few wrong turns added to the mix. Eventually I found myself on the curb, looking up at the place that would be my home away from home for the next fourteen years. I caught my breath, and pushed my son back up the slow incline, heading home.
That was a long time ago. Many miles ago. I've gone through dozens of pairs of running shoes. My son runs alongside me, from time to time. My dog has retired from the circuit, preferring the more relaxed pace of my wife's constitutionals to my hurried cadence. And it makes me think of another Steven Wright bit: "I took my dog for a walk, all the way from New York to Florida. I said to him 'There, now you're done.'" Me? I'm not done yet.