June 30, 2013
Connecticut is where things get interesting. Connecticut is the first state I ran in after I decided to run a 5K distance in all 50 states. After being inspired by Dean Karnazes’ 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days I had crafted my own goal. I’d planned a 10 day trip to New England to see friends and run in 7 states. I’d carefully mapped out where I would stay and run, considering the time of day of the run, what I would be doing after the run, if a shower would be available and when and where I would eat. I allowed for traffic, flexibility and the surprises of travel but those 7 states were a core reason for the trip. My friends were consistently accommodating and supportive of my project.
The morning of my 34th birthday I woke up in West Hartford, Connecticut, told my friend I’d be back in a half hour and went for run. West Hartford and Connecticut in general never fail to remind me of home, either a home I’m from or one I dream of. The white colonial homes, bright green maples and rolling green lawns remind me of my childhood in Madison. The weather was also the same sticky humidity I tolerated as a young girl at tennis practice. Running through it on my 34th birthday at the start of something new brought a lovely sense of completeness. I was in a familiar yet new land, with an old, familiar friend, embarking on a project based on love of running and ambition. After the run I did my first social media post related to 5K in 50 States: “Good Morning, Connecticut!” No photo, no hashtags, no hope of sponsorship or more than a few likes from the reliable friends. Just the location, 3.1 miles on the clock, and my quiet smile in celebration of the years that had been and those to come.
I’m writing this paragraph over two years and 16 states later after getting some shitty news, trying to reclaim that sense of hope and wonder from Connecticut. The only way I can think of is to go somewhere new and do what I love: run. Where to next?