Monday morning, the morning Mum was heading back to Virginia, came far too quickly. We spent three care-free days exploring the city: shopping, eating, gossiping and enjoying each other's company. It's always funny to me how quickly days like that go by, but yet other days (for instance, today as I sit at my desk wondering how only two minutes could have passed since I last wondered how far away 5:00 PM was) can seem like an eternity.
Since my Mum and I live rather far apart and both keep busy schedules, there is always a lot of catching-up to do when we finally are together. So I was shocked and incredibly proud when she announced that she had started running - and wanted to complete a 5K in the fall! Having already worked up to running 2.5 miles without stopping (and this on the hills in Christiansburg, mind you), I think she will be ready well before she thinks.
She needed new running shoes so I took her to get properly fitted at New York Running Company. I was excited for her as she tried on each pair, remembering the same new-runner enthusiasm I had shown last fall.
But I was beginning to feel a little guilty about my recent slacking on my running. Between my work and school schedule and either being too exhausted or too busy on the weekends, I haven't been able to enjoy much running. Even during my lunch hour, I dread my treadmill runs. For me, running on a treadmill is a means-to-an-end; I do not find the same feeling of freedom and relaxation emulated on the treadmill.
I was up early this morning to see Mum off to the airport. After I couldn't see the taxi anymore, I headed back up to my apartment. 5:23 AM. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep. I could do some housework, but that seemed a rather depressing way to start off an already sullen Monday. So I went for a run.
I ran the 3.75-mile course I had taken Mum for a walk on Saturday morning. In the park, if I looked over my shoulder, I could see the pink sun starting to rise uptown, reflecting its light and color on the reservoir next to me and waking the skyscrapers downtown.
I thought about how different this year's good-bye had been from last summer's. I was in tears before I made it back up to my apartment last summer. I crawled back into bed and cried because I was so miserable. I hated my job, hated the city, hated being so far away from my family. My relationship with Mike was having lots of ups and downs and most weekends I found myself alone, lost and lonely. I had no idea what I was doing in Manhattan or why I thought I could make a life for myself here. Mike thought I was going to move back to Virginia; I had stopped trying to convince him that I wasn't.
This year was a little different. It was still difficult to say good-bye, it always is. I've been sad today because I know time together is so rare now; I want to go home and spend time with my family. But I do like the little life I've carved out for myself over the last year.
I still hate my job, but I'm taking classes to pursue a career in a field I am truly passionate about. I don't love the city all the time, but I do like it most of the time. Mike has been a tremendous support as I've taken on a hectic schedule and, now, the only thing I wish is that we had more time together.
The one thing that hasn't changed is that I hate being so far away from my family. But I find it a little easier to deal with that now that I feel like I've found my little niche, no matter how small, in the city.
By 6:10 AM, I was back in my apartment. It was the kind of run that reconnected me, both to the city and myself. That's the kind of running I miss.