A runner’s inner monologue

Somehow, it’s been almost a month since my last post. Whoops!

I mostly attribute that to the fact that I’m officially injured and focusing more on physical therapy than logging miles these days. I have the most cliché injury possible – my IT band.I’m only allowed to run tragically short distances – no more than 30 minutes a day – for the next month.

I did get in a pretty amazing run a few weeks ago, between injuring and then re-injuring myself.

I was in Phoenix – a city that I love (or at least, it’s filled with people I love), and a city that also fills me with a tremendous amount of anxiety. There’s a reason I always drink too much when I’m there.

Normally, I stay at a hotel in central Phoenix, about 2.5 miles from my first apartment. Not my first apartment ever, but the first, I guess the only, place that was ever just mine. On my first day in town, I decided to run there. I’m glad I did – it was a good remedy for the weird feeling that always settles in my stomach as soon as I land at Sky Harbor, that doesn’t go away until I’m home again in Portland.

To get there I ran past the hospital that was home for my family for a month in 2005. Past a nasty strip club, that I kind of can’t believe is still there. When nuclear war comes, it’s totally possible that just Band-Aides and the cockroaches will survive. Ran past a restaurant that two incarnations ago was a great place to get Belgian fries. Past a storefront, now empty that once was home to a restaurant that only sold soup, that I really wanted to love but knew wouldn’t survive. (Because it opened in June. Soup, in June? In Phoenix? No.) Past a coffee shop that used to be called Drip and now is called something else, where Oliver and I went while I ditched work (sorry Amy!) the afternoon after my favorite date in the history of all my  dates.

I arrived outside my old building. I thought about the person I was there. I love the person I was there, though she was miserable. I know that sounds melodramatic – especially because I was also having a really good time. I learned in the 18 months I lived alone that it’s possible to have a good time and still be deeply unhappy. I made some of my best friends in that time, but I also had terrible insomnia, killer anxiety and also identified way too much with the feral kittens who were born seemingly every week under the porch o of our building. I’m thinking this is just called “your early 20s” right?

At the time I felt so uniquely alone, but am starting to understand as I get closer to my next decade that this is actually a nearly universal experience.

It was neat to run passed that place now. I’m so glad I had that time in my life and I’m so beyond grateful that it’s over.

Strange the runs that stick in your mind. This one wasn’t even long – just under 6 miles actually. But, something about the blend of my current life as a pretty balanced, mostly happy, 28-year-old runner and my past life as a completely freaked out, confused, 23-year-old will stick with me for a long time.





Filed under Running

4 responses to “A runner’s inner monologue

  1. Mary Smith

    You describe the early twenties with such accuracy & grace.

    • meganirwin

      Thanks! Mary, do you still write your blog? I loved reading it because you remind me of me when I was in college (with less visible dysfunction…) Definitely a universal experience..

  2. Mary Smith

    I wish I still did. I keep a physical journal now with pictures and things, but I neglect that all the time too. I’m not too sure that my dysfunctionality is that outwardly hidden anymore, but it does make me happy to know that I might still turn out to be a normal and happy grown up like you after all of this.

    • meganirwin

      Miss Mary, you’re not dysfunctional, you’re wonderful. Trust me. Dysfunctional women don’t accomplish the things you’ve accomplished. In all honesty, I think you’re more mature than I am! And you’re only 20. I can’t wait to know you when you’re 30!

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