As you read this I am no longer in Massachusetts. I don't know when I am coming back. This is hard. I mean I knew from my first semester here that Massachusetts is not the place for me. There are so many people. It is hard to actually get away from people in the New England wilderness. There are not really quiet streets. It is loud here. The general attitude is one of putting everything aside for your career. But still it is hard to leave this place that has become a home for me. I have so many friends. I know some of the streets of Worcester and New England better than most locals will every know. I can describe Salisbury street in great detail. It's a great street. I'll write a blog post about it soon.
It's funny how this placed seemed to have nothing to offer until I am about to leave. I did not appreciate the changing leaf color in October until last year when I was injured and biking 25 miles a day around the countryside. I did not fully appreciate Mt. Wachusett until recently when I ran it, biked it, and skied it. I once read an article about qualifying for the Olympic Trials and the author said that you have to create the routes that will become legend, at least in your mind. I don't know if I have actually connected with much here, besides other WPI students, because of my running but there are routes that are legend in my mind. Go run the Rutland Marathon or Paxton Towers or Aaron's XXL. I guess it sounds strange that a run along some route could change a person and make them better but that's the way I feel. Some of my runs have brought me close to crying.
It is really about the friends. There are people here that can easily challenge me running and climbing and career wise. I feel like I am chasing a dream. I don't know if I will find the place I want to be. I have found a number of places I really like but I have also found that as I spend more time in a place the more I see that I don't like. I like to say that Worcester grows on you, but I think it is more about getting comfortable, having friends, and knowing your way around. It could happen anywhere. It is a scary thought. I have moved around so much growing up and still now in my life I am bouncing around. Will I ever "settle down"? I would like to... I think.
There is only one of me. The problem is that I have so many friends all over the place. I also like to do things based on location. Longs Peak rocks! Magnolia road is about as fast and magical as Salisbury, even at 8000 feet. The Crestones are such a great secret don't tell anyone. The drive from Cimmarron to Taos is amazing. It's an hour and fifteen minutes that is barely short of magical. Mount Washington is like this little experiment of the most hardcore weather in the world a three hour hike from an always paved road and great restaurents. Mount Wachusett is like this piece of fun year round. Crow hill is the little crag that launched dozens of climbing careers. Highland street is this timeless college support network keeping us sane. The piers at Sheboygan are so fun to run out on, even when they are iced over. Epic exists everywhere. And to dispell a myth, there are a lot of great single girls at WPI.
Recently I have changed my plans. I was pretty focused for several years on Boulder. Well, just give me a few decent mountains and a paycheck and I'll live about anywhere. Throw in a 200 meter or longer indoor track and I don't care how cold the winter is. I'm out there looking. Looking for my place. There are so many things I want but so few things I need. My life is already awesome! My life just seems to get better and better every year. My life takes me on unexpected adventures. I can guarantee that 2010 is going to be a very crazy year for me. I will run fast, climb hard, make dozens of new friends, sleep in my van, and live it up!
I am afraid of what the future holds. I am nervous it won't go well. I am scared that I will mess up. I am constantly scared that I'm making a mistake. Is leaving Worcester and New England the right decision?
Well, my friend, we may not see each other face to face every day like before, but I will keep my email, my phone number, my Facebook, my RunningAhead, and this blog. So now it is time for you to step up. Who is going to take the place of the 100+ mile per week kid on the track team? Perhaps several of you could. Who is going to go to Mezcal with the girls? All these things I do, you can do. I am just the sum of conversations and reading and media. Most of which I have imparted to you. I can pretty much guarantee you can guess what I would say most of the time. For example:
"How far do you want to run?" My response, "14, but I did double this morning so slower than 7 flat pace..." In reality it is usually just 2-5 miles more than everyone else usually wants to go on days that I double.
"Another pitcher?" My response, "yes."
"What can I do to run faster?" My response, "run more miles."
"How was mountain climbing this weekend?" My response, "we had really good weather, it was almost 20 and the winds were less than 40 mph."
"Buffalo chicken with the dill sauce?" My response, "yes."
"Is that a beer!?" My response, "no."
"What's your mileage up to?" My response, "well I did 110 last week but I took a day off so it's in the tubes this week. I'd be happy to just get 90."
"Movie Sunday at 8?" My response, "yes."
And finally here are some quotes I've used with great success that you are free to use:
"Would you like to go do (something a little unsafe and slightly painful) with me in two days?"
"Oh you've never done (running route X) it's like 10 miles and pretty flat (actually closer to 11 miles and only flatter than a mountain)."
"I'll drive and I have all sorts of extra gear if you need something. Besides the heater works and I have a radio."
"I'm going to add on (some long running route up to 8 miles)."
"I just want to run a (ridiculous time far better than I ever have before) in this race."
"Back in my day when I was first here in 2004 or 2005 we did..."
If you ever actually have any questions let me know. I'm just moving not disappearing.