Ten miles before breakfast, the sun coming up over the breakwater as I head out the door. Maybe it’s because of school vacation week, but I feel like I have the usually busy city to myself, save for a single fishing trawler headed out of the harbor.
As I move along Rogers Street, the breeze carries the singular mix of scents that makes up a modern working waterfront: Yeast from the brewery, garlic, frying bacon, strong coffee, the indescribable smell from the fish processing plants (fish sticks, maybe?), with just a hint of old-style gurry. Passing by Rocky Neck, I can tell someone’s smoking a joint.
I turn the corner toward the Back Shore. Looking past Niles Beach and across the water, the Boston skyline is so clear and sharp I feel I could almost reach out and touch it. More than ever, I’m thankful for running and what it’s given me. The last four miles fly by; in my imagination, my shuffling feet are those of an Olympian.
When we run, we run toward something. We run to lose weight or breathe better, to compete against others or, more often, ourselves. We run to feel the sun and the wind and the rain. We run to pierce the black veil of depression, or to feel the spark of life move through our veins as our body does what it was made to do. Less than a week ago, many runners ran toward unimaginable chaos, wanting only to help the injured, lost and frightened; to me, those are the images worth remembering. Always, we run toward something.
To run is to hope.