As many of you know I am a runner. I am a fan of running. I like other runners. I try to encourage others to run. And if they are already runners, I am the first to bolster their confidence to register for their dream race or distance. I am, in effect, a pusher of sorts.
Early in November, my husband started telling me about Rickey Gates, an ultrarunner, who was taking on the challenge of running every single street in his city of San Francisco. Impressive, right?
He’s shared maps of his routes, photos of interesting things he’s encountered on the way and even continued running, with a mask, during the wildfire height.
Then he had the ingenious idea that everyone should join him and he was sure one or more of his sponsors would throw in some swag to make this a full-fledged contest. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Well when Swaggy J (my husband) caught wind of this, he did what he always does which was plant the idea/seed for me to join in. True to form, he had no intentions of partaking in this adventure but exploiting my sometimes obsessive qualities, he pushed me along.
I had already been running every day in a new form of focused meditation (that’s another blog) and so I thought, why not?
Since November 16, I have been running every street that I can in my zip code. For those of you not in the Central Ohio area or just have never looked at a map, my zip code is rather interesting. As I have shared on Instagram, it seems highly probable that alcohol or some peyote were involved in drawing these lines or it was a game of pin the tail on the zip code.
Each day I spend more than a normal amount of time planning my run so as to make it as efficient as possible and so that I cover as much fresh terrain as I can. This seems simple enough but take a moment and consider that every cul-de-sac, court, dead-end street requires you to retrace your steps. So you get mileage, yay! But you are not furthering your cause. And with a zip code that’s 18 plus square miles, efficiency is key.
But each day I continue on and it’s been fun. I now know how many streets in my community connect, I would probably be a great mail carrier or pizza delivery driver now.
What I have also learned through this process is why I love the trail. One of the reasons I am drawn to running on the trail is because it’s quiet. I can hear myself think or better yet I can hear nature and stop listening to the wild banshee-like thoughts running around in my head. I miss the calm of the trail. I miss the sound of my feet on the dirt, crushed stone or splashing through a stream.
I even miss the sound of hearing my own breath. Sure I can hear it to a point while running on the street but with the hum of cars it’s quieted.
But it hasn’t been all bad. I have met nearly every dog in each neighborhood and a couple liked me so much they were interested in chewing on my leg or arm a little. I discovered that humans can trip those speed trackers on the street, which was super exciting for me. It even appears that some of the developers in this area have a real sense of humor after I found a dinosaur park earlier this week. And to my surprise, I realize that my community has even more parks than I ever knew and I already thought there were a lot. You can pretty much spit in any direction and hit a park. I am not, however, condoning random spitting.
I have seen some really impressive Christmas displays and some that left me doing a double-take and I am still processing.
I would encourage you to get out, explore your community. Get out of your usual patterns. It’s good for you and your brain.
And if you want to follow along with the fun, search #everysinglestreet on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G