On the last page of Runner’s World they feature a famous runner; not a runner that is famous for running (those people are on their cover) but famous people that also run. A while back Tom Cavanagh was one of these runners. For those of you that don’t know, Tom is on some show on TNT about an ad agency that is not Mad Men. He was also Ed on my old favorite show Ed.
So, Tom said he thinks the best way to see a new city is to run through it. He mentions that once, when he was on location, he was somewhere near water (I can’t remember all the details) and, while running along the beach, he came across an old shipwreck. He adds that he would have never seen that if he weren’t a runner.
Two years ago I ran the New York City Marathon. I have been to NYC a dozen times, but until I ran through all five boroughs, I had no idea just how wonderful a town New York really is.
I’m in Allentown again (what can I say, mom needs more help around the house and she pays me in dresses and shoes) and because I have started training for the San Francisco Women’s Marathon, I have had to run through my old stomping grounds.
Today, I chose to run through the Parkway (kids from A-town know what I am talking about). It is hilly and hidden by a lot of trees and follows a creek that the county stocks with trout every season. The trail is used by mountain bikers, walkers, dog owners and a lot of runners.
So there I was, being passed by some high school kids, enjoying the cool air that all the trees created and the fat man standing in the creek, fishing and smoking. I was dodging horse dung (did I mention that the trail is also used for horseback riding) and snakes (no not skeevy guys that turn to check out your rear as you cross paths, but actual snakes) when I heard shots ring out.
Oh right, I forgot to tell you -- the trail also runs by a state police barracks where there is a gun range.
It sounded like automatic weapon fire, but I couldn’t be certain. I was once out with a guy that could name the type of gun by the sound of it. He was from Nebraska. After I picked myself up off of the gravel path and brushed off my scraped knees, I almost wished he was there to tell me what the officers were shooting.
The best part of this whole scene, the beautiful woods, the green lawns, the serene fishermen and the families walking dogs, was that I was the only one startled. I was the only one that hit the deck (okay, not really, but almost).
I am also wiling to bet I was the only one that ever lived in North Philly.
If Ed, err, I mean Tom, were to run in my hometown that is what I would hope he would take away from it. That at times it can be absolutely breathtaking and frightening at the same time.