Running: pounding pavement on foreign soil.

Friday was spent in transit back to Bethesda, MD and I’m going to write a long article today about bike tires and tubes as soon as I do the research for the piece. (This is my own way of throwing down the gauntlet to myself. Challenge accepted, rogue!) Going back east to visit my parents is always a mixed bag. Bethesda/DC has never been my “home” because I left for college at the same time my parents moved into their first house together. Home for me is here in Los Angeles, because it is where I feel most safe, comfortable, and in control. Anywhere else is foreign soil.

Don’t get me wrong – my parents go out of their way to provide a safe, comfortable home for me and my wife to send time in and relax. In fact, I sleep better there than I do in my home because it is a quiet neighborhood surrounded by trees and park, they have a great king sized guest bed (with no animals needing to burrow between us), and I don’t have any household chores. Even still, it’s not home. It’s where my parents live. I don’t have my bike. I didn’t bring my computer. I don’t know where things are, like swimming pools, easy, healthy food, and other things that are second nature to me at home.

Because my life revolves around eating every two hours, I am hyper-aware of everything food related. I packed lunchmeat, fruit, and nuts on the airplane so that I was covered for the trip. I emailed my dad all our weird food stuff, and he had promised a meal ready for us upon arrival. But eating every two hours is often a chore, and I can be caught unprepared even at home. Here, I know where the grocery stores are that have salad bars. I know my neighborhoods and geography so that I’m now rarely stuck without options. Even though I spent a number of years living in Bethesda, I was a teenager. I didn’t make my own life there; it was piggybacked on my parent’s lives. I certainly was never an athlete there. I have photos to prove it.

I brought my running kit with me because I knew I had to get in some miles – any miles at all. Saturday morning I woke up early and went for an hour run in the pool of moist that is the suburban Maryland summer. I ran from my parent’s new house to their old house through the multimillion dollar estates of Potomac, enjoying the brick and columns we don’t have in L.A. Everything about these estates screams “NOT EARTHQUAKE SAFE” and “LOBBYISTS MAKE A LOT OF MONEY.” Most of those monster houses are owned by lobbyists, talking heads and pundits, and other scum of the earth. Boy, does the scum live well. Their roads are nicely paved, shaded with lush green canopies, with rolling hills perfect for hill repeats and sprints. I was only almost-killed twice by very nice cars likely well insured! A far cry from being mauled by a salvaged Toyota pickup carrying ten lawnmowers. If you’re going to be hit by a car, be hit by a rich, right-wing asshole recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Chances are good you’ll get a nice settlement if you live through the ordeal.

I enjoy running through new areas. It gets my head out of thinking how much I don’t really enjoy running. I enjoy being a voyeur and seeing how other people live and running at my slow ass pace affords me pleasant views of people’s living rooms, domestic disputes, and what kind of cars the help drives. I had time to crank out an hour run, having to take off my shirt because the humidity was simply grotesque. Bethesda is also currently swarming with mosquitos from a damp summer leaving standing water pools all over a town already built on a swamp. Taking off the shirt felt good and provided good speed motivation to outrun the swarm of bugs that looked like the “SKATE OR DIE!” cloud from the Faceplant video game of my youth.

I stuck to my food and training schedule as best I could. I think it worked out well, keeping my mood pretty balanced. I definitely missed my long weekend ride, but just getting out and doing something was a good reminder of the life I choose to lead now, rather than the life I defaulted to when I lived in Bethesda.

One final note – I wrote previously about my wager with my dad and his weight issues. I’ve come to realize that it’s not fair of me to discuss his private matters on my blog. His life and health have a deep impact on me, my relationship to my own weight, and my life decisions and they will certainly color certain aspects of my writing. But his choices are his to make and anything I write about them only serves to violate his privacy. I love my dad and I want him to be happy and healthy. But I cannot use my public personae as leverage him to make choices he may or may not want to make. That becomes blackmail, and makes it more likely for him to reject anything I might have to offer. The best I can do is model behavior for him, and for anyone interested in how my personal choices have worked for me.

Workout notes: 1 hour run, no clue on mileage. Felt like a good pace, but hills throw me off completely.


One response to “Running: pounding pavement on foreign soil.

  1. Thank you.

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