Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lost in my mind

In my lifetime, I've most likely spent thousands of hours clocking mileage on the Chicago lakefront. I've pounded my hopes, fears, frustrations, dreams, and disappointments into that asphalt path countless times where it kind of became a part of me. Every bend, crack, pothole, and creature I became to know like the back of my hand. Leaving it behind hasn't been the easiest of things for me to do in the last 4 months.

I'm not the kind of gal that holds deep sediment for the tangibles in life. Items generally hold very little romantic value and instead tend to feel like cluttered remnants of the things people can't let go of to me. Instead I develop hardy roots in people and places, where Chicago takes the cake.

The past 4 months have been rather rocky as I've been struggling to find my new norm in a place that I don't belong. I've been told countless times that the suburbs will grow on me, and that life out in what feels like the middle of nowhere will become peacefully pleasant with time. While I can't say that people are wrong, I do feel like it's a bit too peaceful and too pleasant. And I don't really want it to grow on me.

Everyone seems to look the same. Individuality is almost lost.
It's impossible to walk anywhere. I hate driving.
People drive like reckless maniacs. I refuse to.
Drivers want to run over runners. Bagh.
And it just feels blah. Boring.

As I've been able to slowly get back into pain-free running, it's been more mentally challenging than it has been physically. My mind feels like it could go on forever and it's on the lakefront right where I left it the day I packed my life into a moving van closing the book on the Chicago chapter of my life.

Sunrise on my last morning as a Chitown resident

I like the physical challenge of getting my running groove back where the legs feel like they can no longer carry me through another step but somehow always do. My head is the tricky part. It taunts and teases me saying "one more mile won't hurt anything" and I have to catch myself before I stumble into bad old habits that have gotten me into some deep do-do before.

One of the hardest parts of being a runner, athlete, or even human, is letting go of where we want to be or think we should be and instead embracing where we are. 

And where I'm at right now physically is nowhere near where my mind wants me to be. 

Put your dreams away for now
I won't see you for some time
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

The once 8 mile standard daily easy runs have now become my long run distance where I have no idea what pace I'm clocking because I avoid my Garmin like it's the plague. 
Pretty sure that the number would be nothing short than a huge blow to my ego.

Those cavalier goals my pretentious urban spirit has been unsuccessfully hunting down for the past 12 months aren't null, and I haven't yet given up hope. Just had to press pause for awhile to figure out where I'm headed, which I'm still not sure of. 2013 could be another year of countless PR's, and it could be just the opposite. Still learning how to let it all go while rerooting myself while trying to find new niches because I'm no different than anyone else...just a never-ending work in progress.


  1. I heard someone say something like, "Sometimes you don't know where paradise is, until you see it in your rear-view mirror as you drive away from it." Anyway, I can relate to the suburbs seeming boring. I remember hearing about how much the suburb I grew up in had changed since I had lived there. Microbrewery! Wine bar! Starbucks! So, a couple of years ago, I took the Metra train from the city to my old suburb. I got off the train at 9pm to meet some friends and you could hear crickets chirping and you would have thought tumbleweeds were rolling down the street. The bar was crowded but the rest of the town was asleep by 9pm. On the positive side, I bet the town is still a pretty darn safe place for kids. Good luck in your quest.

  2. Alright lady, your writing gives me goosebumps, as it usually does!

    I wish I could put my thoughts into words like you do.

    Nice work on doing some garmin-less time. I've just been running for a couple weeks after essentially not training for 3 months and wow, my old paces are tough to keep up with, but I need to be a lot easier on myself, it'll all come back with time.

  3. I have been suburbanite for 8 takes a while, but you will get there..I'd say it took me until we had our first child 5 years ago to be happy with where we are at. I work downtown every day, so for me it is kind of nice to get back to the quietness. Also, not sure if Kids are the in mix for your future, but life does change and in comparing notes, it seems to be less complex raising children in the 'burbs than in the city for schooling purposes.

    1. That was pretty much the only reason I was willing to relocate, but seeing that we currently don't have any children it just makes it that much more painful to be here. I'm sure once kiddos are running around our house it'll all be different. One of the major reasons we moved where we did was because my in-laws refused to come visit us when we were in the city, and I want them to have a close relationship with the children of our future.

  4. My long run is at 7 miles right now, so I feel you! Dang Plantar Fasciitis is getting the best of me. It's so hard to believe I ran a marathon just a month ago!

    I hope you start to love your new neighborhood. Luckily, the city is just a drive away. Speaking of the suburbs, I am going to be flying home to Chicago and spending most of my week in Barrington at my sister's house. My biggest issue is the lack of good food! I will be spending one day in the city with a friend who now lives in Michigan. I miss Chicago so much and when I visit home, I always get stuck in the burbs because my family lives there. I am already getting excited figuring out where I want to eat while I'm in the city. I definitely want to go to Uncommon Ground because I miss that place. Any recommendations on food places in the city? We're staying on the Gold Coast. It's been 3 years since I've lived there! Now I feel like a tourist.

    Sorry for the long comment. Whoops! Have a wonderful holiday with the hubby! Will you share some photos of the house?

    1. Once we take down all the holiday decor I'll post some progress photos of the house. We haven't made a lot of progress, but some. If only projects didn't cost so much and take so long!

  5. You are one of the best writers. Not sure if you ever thought about writing books or poems but I think you'd be really good at it.

    That must have been tough leaving the Chicago lakefront. I assume that you left for good reasons - maybe to start a family or to get into a house or a bigger house. I agree with your sentiments on the suburbs - seems like drivers are crazy and people do want to run over others. Not sure what they are always in a hurry about. Yesterday I almost got into 3-4 separate car accidents from crazy drivers, and a person almost hit me while I was walking in the gym parking lot. A person was driving between 2 cars in between spots. Such an idiot.

    I hope you find peace in the suburbs, after a while I bet you will settle into a routine that you like.

    1. Thanks Nelly. Don't know if I'm quite cut out for the professional writing world since I have comma use issues and like to make up my own words, but I've thought about it. Just don't really know what I would write a book about.

      I think this time of year tends to probably be the worst with drivers, everyone in a hurry trying to get all their holiday errands done. They go crazy when I drive the speed limit, and so does my husband.

  6. New adventures. New adventures.

    Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2013.

  7. I love your writings. That is all :)

  8. Good post. Good luck with the new beginnings!

  9. The suburbs certainly take some getting used to. They aren't Chicago, that's for sure, but the trick is not comparing them to Chicago. Which can be hard. But you have to appreciate the suburbs for what they are (whatever that is), instead of what they aren't (which is Chicago). Because if you keep comparing them to Chicago, they'll never win, and you'll always be frustrated. That's how I've survived the 8 years since I graduated from college and moved out of Chicago ... I'm still itching to move back to the city limits though.

    1. You are absolutely right. There really is no comparison, so I don't know why I waste my time with it. My main problem is that I just always want to be in the city at my favorite coffee shop, out on the town, having dinner at our favorite places, and to just be there in general which I'm finding is a feeling that just doesn't fade.

  10. This piece has left me with a large lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I felt as if you were almost speaking TO ME. I too, have been trying to find my place for the last year and half since we moved here from Texas and I retired from the Air Force. I still have yet to find my place, my peace, and my purpose. But I try to hang on to the little things that give me family, my new friends, and my new home where I need to plant seeds that will eventually grow in to somethingb beautiful.
    Chin up my friend...xoxo

  11. This post really resonated with me, because I am currently living in the city, but my husband and I are most likely making the jump to the 'burbs in the next year or so, and to be perfectly honest, I am terrified. It will be hard to close the book on seven years in the city. But every ending is really a new beginning, right? I am sure you will find your peace with that transition, too!

  12. Just like the other commentors I love reading your words Britt.
    You so eloquently stated the 'torture's' of running. After joining the runner-crowd as a previous swimmer, I believe running is the hardest sport to stay: injury-free, pushing the edge, motivated, and always moving forward towards PR's...but constantly trying to hold all those cards is what draws me (us!) in most!
    Running, like life, is a journey. I don't believe you will be in 'Burbs forever. Something will come along a guide you to a place that suites you better.
    2013 is going to be a great year for you. Whether you PR or not, your head is in the right sport to make the upcoming year one to remember and be proud of. you are so talented, and such an inspiration. keep listening to your body, and loving every second of fighting back, and beyond where you once where.

    p.s. I love this quote from you so much I had to write it down:
    "One of the hardest parts of being a runner, athlete, or even human, is letting go of where we want to be or think we should be and instead embracing where we are". It reminds me that we can't look behind or ahead if we what to improve where we are today.

  13. Ahh, hang in there. That's one of the frustrating things about's not a straight path up to your goal...many hills and valleys along the way, but they all build a foundation to making us a stronger runner and person. In regards to the suburbs and not being where you want to be, one of the things I have found comfort in is looking back at my past. There have been times when things went exactly opposite of my plan. At the time, it seemed like I was throwing my dreams down the drain and being forced down another path against my will. Looking back now with the benefit of time, though, I realize that God had a better plan for me even though I didn't see it at the time. I became a stronger person, met new friends, and now wouldn't even THINK about trading in what I have now gone through for the path I thought I had wanted. This realization didn't happen over night, though. Keep the faith and trust, and keep plowing ahead along whatever path you are currently on, even if you don't know where it is taking you. God has a plan : )