All good things must come to a beginning. Running in my new town, Oakland, is definitely a sort of beginning. Having been a suburbs runner, being a daily urban-life runner is sort of like being reborn. The ‘burbs are quiet. They are in black and white and shades of gray. The ‘urbs, however…they are vibrant. They are in every color imaginable all at once. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself splattered on a canvas without ever meaning to be there.
Taking a run in O-town is an experience. On the first run I took post move, I passed more runners and walkers than I had in probably my entire stint in the OC. I felt like everyone and their mother and their brother-in-law and their kazoo was outside taking a jog or a walk. In Oakland, I never lack for people watching while I’m working out.
Other people are definitely the biggest part of the running in Oakland experience. A few days ago, a homeless man called out to me: “Why are you running?” he asked in a very sincere manner. “Because I want to!” I replied cheerfully. “But who are you running from?” he continued. I missed a beat, and then responded, “No one, yet.” He laughed as I ran on.
This exchange made me wonder if I was indeed running from anything in particular. After a lot of thought, I realized that I wasn’t. I was in fact, running towards something. I don’t run to get away. Not at all. I run to get places.