When I first got here, nothing was familiar. It felt a little disorienting considering I’ve never really lived anywhere outside of Texas. Even I felt unfamiliar. I looked the same, except for my frizzy hair (which I detail in a previous post).
Was I a Jersey girl now? Was I still a Texas girl? Can you still claim your state if you don’t live there? And how long do you have to live somewhere before you can claim that state as your home?
But one thing I knew was still certain, I was a girl who loved to run (Although I wouldn’t call it true love. It’s more of a love/hate relationship instead of a full-blown love affair with running. Think of it as a “it’s complicated” relationship status on Facebook).
I’m not fast. I’m actually probably the slowest, laziest runner you’ll ever meet. And I’m ok with that. I’m not trying to PR (achieve a Personal Record) or win medals at races.
When I run a 5K, 10K, 15K or a half-marathon, I have 2 goals (keep in mind I’m not an overachiever when it comes to long distance running & probably never will be):
1) finish (& do so before the people on golf carts pick you up because they’re closing the course. That actually happens. I call it the ride of shame, because everyone is staring & judging. Fingers crossed I haven’t been picked up yet).
2) to not be last (now I can be next to last, I just can’t be dead last, because that would be embarrassing).
Finding a park to run in was my first priority. Because running is such a great way to process information (& I have a lot to process)! There is an incredible park here in Hamilton called Veterans Park. It almost feels like an honor to run there. And I feel a deep sense of patriotism just being there.
I’d only been in Jersey for about 4 days before I ventured out to the park (which I had to google map to get there even though it’s right down the road). My intent that first time was to just to run a few miles, 2 tops since I hadn’t ran in a few weeks. But I got lost in the park. On the inside I panicked a little. And then I took a deep breath & kept running until I could find a map or a road or a parking lot.
Luckily I found a map 1st. After studying it, I figured out how it was set up. It’s one mile from one side to the other with intersecting paths designated & marked by the different branches of military service, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard & Marine Merchant.
I put one earbud back in (which is the only way I run for safety reasons) & found my way out. Although, I did stop along to the way to take in the sounds of children playing on the playground, the leaves on the tree blowing in the wind…
I immediately fell in love with this park. Not only does it pay tribute to all who serve & have served in the military like my brother, my dad, my uncles & cousins. It also feels like I’m in the country with its shaded trails that are asphalt (although I like to run along side on softer ground). It’s almost like trail running! For a girl that grew up in the country like me, it’s feels like I’m home even it’s just when I’m going for a run!