If I could choose any running path in the world it would always be my childhood park in central New Jersey. Whenever I’m home, I have absolutely no trouble being motivated to go out for runs, simply because I have a prime go-to spot. Just thinking about this park makes me feel good: lots of trails, lots of miles to be covered, lots of different surfaces to run on, and LOTS of memories. I’m serious! I remember taking walks along the lake as a preschooler, I remember hunting for fall leaves with my mom and little brother when I was in elementary school, I remember walking every family dog we’ve ever had there, I remember going there for walks with friends or people I’ve dated in the past. I have memories within almost every inch of the park, which makes my runs almost like a run down memory lane.
And perhaps most importantly, this is the place that I grew as a runner.
I remember going to this park when I first started running. Each time I go for a run now, as I near the first, second, and third mile markers, I think about how these were my endpoints when I first started running . It’s incredibly rewarding to pass them and be aware of my progression as a runner.
In terms of less… emotional attachments to this park, it’s just a great park to run at. While away at school, the parks and trails near me are…. boring. They’re either one big circle or one straight long-shot. Because I get bored, I tend to have much less motivation to go on runs. During the run, my motivation continues to lack–I’ll feel tired much quicker and never can run quite as well as I can when I’m at home. My hometown park has a ton of different trails, all on different surfaces. I can run about 5 miles without running the same path more than once and because of that I’m always excited to go for runs. I rarely get side stitches, I tend to run a lot faster and for a lengthier period of time. I also have the chance to completely avoid other runners. Some of the back trails through the woods are totally secluded, which is just what I like 🙂
Taking a trip back home this weekend reminded me of just how much I love this place, and really made me think about having a favorite running spot. My runs from this weekend were wonderful and I’m always missing this park when I’m back at school. Do you have a favorite spot to run? If you could choose any one place to run for the rest of your life, where would it be?