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Out of Nowhere

I’m a runner. Physically, I run. But I also run emotionally. At least I used to.


My physical running journey started in 2009 when I trained and completed the Chicago Marathon. My running buddy owned a popular neighborhood bar at the time. After six months of training side by side, he showed up on the morning of the marathon drunk. Still completed it faster than me. Still got arrested for embezzlement. Never asked questions.


I went on to run the Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota that same year. I treadmill ran with my friend Steven throughout the early ‘10s. And I completed two long-distance marathons in South Korea between 2014 and 2017. Clearly, running is fun for me.


What’s not fun is being so uncoordinated. A friend once told me I’m the clumsiest person he ever met. It’s true. I trip over secure door frames and imaginary objects. My favorite is when I run and trip over the ground like it popped out of nowhere.


Back at the end of June, I was in Baton Rouge visiting a friend from college. After staying up late reminiscing that night, I decided to go for a run the next morning.


It was 7 am and already 98 and humid. Without a t-shirt on, I started running down the stairs outside of her apartment and towards the sidewalk. I got to the main road and ran for about ten minutes. Oooh, those are nice trees. What a huge building with stunning door frames.


My favorite song just happened to start playing in my ears. I became entranced by the beat. I started humming along. And then I lost focus for a second. One second.


Like clockwork, the jagged indent in the sidewalk popped up out of nowhere. I face-planted firmly on the ground and skidded about two feet on my chest towards a bush.


Very quickly with mild embarrassment, I stood up and looked down. I was bleeding from the impact to my chest, my right knee, and the palm of my hand. Three for one special it was.


A superwoman came to my rescue. She handed me a clean mask to wipe away the blood and dirt. She offered to take me to the hospital. But I continued running. I ran around the block with my somewhat dizzy head high back to my friend’s house.


As easy as it is to move my feet, it used to be just as easy to run from my present. I avoided it at all costs. For seventeen years, it was a ball that I dodged as often as I could.


In 2002, I switched roommates in the middle of my first semester of college because I conjured up some false belief that he disliked me. I never had an actual conversation with him.


In 2011, I left a team of teachers for another team because I thought I wasn’t good enough. It was my 1st year of teaching; the rest of the team had combined teaching experience of twenty-seven years.


In 2020, I packed my car and left Chicago to go travel indefinitely with my dog. Five weeks later, I drove straight to my brother’s in Georgia from South Dakota.


Before that morning in Baton Rouge, it was:


Running. Bump in the road. Give up! Start over.

Running. Bump in the road. Give up! Start over.

Repeat.


That pavement in Baton Rouge spoke to me. It said:


Run. Bump in the road. Keep going.

Run more. Bump in the road. Keep going.

Repeat.


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