“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we’d like to be. That’s not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done.” — John Bingham
May 20, 2013, Washington, DC: We run together through a spitting rain. First as a tight pack and later as a long string of a neon sneakers stretched out over the entire neighborhood. We check the landmarks off the list first, tagging the back of the Supreme Court and the Shakespeare Library before beelining it away from the city in a straight shot out toward its edge. Familiar faces and strangers reach into the street offering paper cups and high fives. Clutching coffee mugs, wearing baseball caps, there’s the shopkeeper from around the corner, the family who lives down the block…
We slice through the grey morning until we nearly reach river. By RFK Stadium, we thin out to form a glow stick necklace in the drizzling rain, a few thousand of us circling that enormous parking lot. We feel the humidity of a DC summer weighing on us and thank God this expanse of cement isn’t bombarded with sun.
Returning to the finish line, we’ve memorized a bit more of this place. We’ve memorized that slight incline coming back up onto East Capitol heading towards home. It’s the first time we’ve felt this stretch of road in our calves.
Someplace like this and it never occurs to us to wish we were in San Francisco, because we’re just as athletic, or Chicago, because we’re just as kind-hearted, or New York, because here we have more room to run. We’re not thinking of anyplace else, really, nothing and nowhere beyond the next mile.
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