I started running in college with my roommate. We’d go at night when we were finished studying and run from our apartment to the Provo Temple. I liked the crisp air, lights and stars. The next year when my roommate (the same one) was sick, I started running alone. Because Utah winters are cruel, I’d put cotton balls in my ears and wrap a bandana over my mouth and nose. By this time, running wasn’t just about chatting with my roommate or burning calories, it was also about being alone.
I loved my roommates and I loved living with five girls, almost always, but the truth was I’d grown up in a very quiet house with a sick mother and a working father. After my mother’s death, the very quiet house became even quieter. I loved my roommates then, I love my family now, but I am used to quiet and I love it. I love being alone. Running provided that solace and solitude when I was in college and it provides it still.
During the semester breaks when I went home I’d run with my dad’s German shorthair—Trooper. We didn’t own a leash, which was probably just as well because Trooper ran much, much faster than I did. He’d run away from me and then run straight at me. I think he found it amusing to see if he could knock me over.
Thirty years later, I still run with a dog. My dad’s dogs have died, but whenever I go home, I’ll run the same trail that I did when I used to run with Trooper. For twenty years I’ve been running the same miles in Rancho, but the amazing thing is—whether I’m running around the golf course or through the fields in Arlington—I’m still the same person that I was when I began thirty years ago.
My body has changed—it’s still changing. My circumstances are different. I own more stuff, have more responsibilities, hopefully I've learned things, but basically, the essence of who I am—I’m still that girl. Running helps me remember that. I think my very best thoughts when I run. I don’t know why—I only know that it’s true.