(From my first run of the year, which took the very route you're going to read about below, certainly the first of many times I'll cross those sidewalks.)
Or, in my case, run bys... you know, when you pass by a place familiar to you in a current life, or maybe a past one, and you are filled with all sorts of emotion (perhaps nostalgic, perhaps wistful, perhaps joyful). Anyway, of course I have those experiences while driving, or riding the train, but it happens when I'm out running, too.
Especially when I'm out in the neighborhood. This year marks 5 years that I have been running. In a way I kind of can't believe it... but here we are. I know I still have so far to go but I am proud of the progress I have made and the plans I have for myself. I love that through running I am constantly growing, constantly learning more about myself. I feel really lucky to have found myself on this journey. I kind of went off on a tangent there, but the reason I love to run through the neighborhood, especially heading up north towards Devon, is that I used to spend a ton of time just a few blocks north of here while Tom was attending Loyola University Chicago.
He lived with a few roommates on Newgard and I often times find myself running north on Glenwood, crossing Devon, heading a block west and then up past the old apartment. Sometimes I swear I can see 19 year old Jess looking out the window on the street below. Often times I continue on north and then over on side streets to Sheridan and the LUC campus. I pass by the buildings he used to go to class in (remembering especially the humanities building where he took photography classes, the darkroom there, the afternoon where he took photos of me in an empty classroom), the lawns and the Lake and the chapel. It has changed so much since he was a student, but a lot of it has stayed the same, too.
And, I don't know, running on campus and running through our old stomping grounds always fills me with a sense of contentment and happiness. I'd like to think that 19 year old Jess would be happy with the life that almost 29 year old Jess has made for herself. I always hoped that he and I would end up back here, because I loved it so much, but I never could have guessed that "here" would literally be 3 blocks away. So I'll soak it up while I can, I'll run north on Devon and past the old apartment and I'll wave when I see her in the window.