Myfavorite time to run is at night.
This particular run inearly August brought a break to the humid, muggy weather I left onthe East Coast. I used my body as a human psychrometer, knowing thatthe cold feeling of evaporating sweat signaled much needed dryair.
I cross over the bridge into Minnesota. Out of mythree sports, cross country is definitely my worst — but I continueto be hooked on it. Unlike swimming and track, my motivation to runis heavily intrinsic. I live for the long runs I take on by myself.While they rarely happen during our season, we were assigned a longrun to complete over our first weekend of cross country. In reality,I was supposed to go six miles, but felt eight gave me more time toexplore the home I had just returned to. My mind begins to wander asI once again find my rhythm.
My train of thought whilerunning is similar to the way one thinks in the minutes before sleep— except one has more control over how these thoughts progress andwhat tangents they move off of. While special relativity would be the"proper" thing to think about, especially at MITES, Irevive the violin repertoire I had turned away from for so long andbegin playing it in my head. I'm now at the edge of town in betweenthe cornfields. The streaming floodlights on the open road give me asense of lonely curiosity, reminiscent of the opening lines ofWieniawski's first violin concerto. I come up with adaptations of themelody in my head, experimenting with an atonality similar toStravinsky's.
I turn south onto a highway heading towardsdowntown. The dark night sky is broken by the oncoming lightpollution. While I've longed for a road trip across the country, theneon lights from Sunset Lanes will have to do for Las Vegas. Turningwest, I see a man and perk up as I try to look more menacing than Ireally am. But I relinquish. I realize that I did such an act simplybecause of the color of his skin. I kick myself for reverting topassive racism — something I spent much of the summer trying toovercome.
The bridge over Main Avenue leads me back intoNorth Dakota and downtown Fargo. My city is on the eve of its annualpride week — the largest in North Dakota. Beyond the rainbow flagslining downtown, I see the Catholic cathedral I attend every Sundayoutside of the summer. The juxtaposition brings back memories oftrying to come to terms with my own beliefs. The conservatism on mymom's side of the family often clashes with the more liberal views ofmy dad's family. Fargo is known for its "nice" attitude,but the discussion of controversial issues is often set aside infavor of maintaining peace. On the surface this can be good, but itmakes change a long and cumbersome process, and has caused me tobecome very independent in finding my own belief system — somethingespecially difficult when these beliefs may have to do with yourfuture identity.
The remaining part of my run is short anduneventful. The fact that the traffic lights have switched toblinking yellow and red means that I have been out later than usual.When I get home, I find that my run took somewhere around an hour —I honestly don't care about time during my distance runs. Longs runsare often seen as a runner battling the distance rather than time.But for me, long runs are a journey — both physically and mentally.Each time I run a route, I understand my surroundings and city moreand more, and couldn't be more excited and sad to know that I'mleaving this place in a year's time.