Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
I started running during rehab after major knee surgery four years ago. I kept running because I had the knee surgery.
Why go through the pain if I wasn’t going to use my rebuilt joint?
That was at college in Boston. Now, I’m two days shy of my month-iversary with the state of Mississippi and fresh off my first southern 5k, ran as part of the State Games.
What better way to celebrate? And I can’t complain about a 31:01 on my watch, 31:02 on theirs, either.
I hadn’t ran more than two miles since mid-March when I was diagnosed with enough stress fractures in my left foot that my doctor probably made a too-soon-for-Louisville-basketball-fans joke about me being the next Kevin Ware.
When I moved to town, I cut the three months of “no running” orders a few weeks short (I stayed off it longer than most thought), but the heat and humidity made me wonder how I’d ever get back up my usual lengthier runs.
I saw Saturday’s run as an opportunity to kick myself in the butt and get back into a sport I’d grown to love – sure enough, it work.
I picked up my bib and, in true pre-race fashion, Instagram-ed it, except I noted I’d woken up with a death wish. Could I survive the humidity and the sun? This was no new distance, but after weeks of hitting abruptly walls, I wasn’t sure.
Just before heading down the hill from Bonita Lakes Mall, I looked at my watch and realized how much I missed running and weekend races.
It was hot, the sun beating down and my watch said I was right at the distance that had become my cut off, but my clock didn’t matter – the one hanging over the finish did.
I thought I wasn’t going to have anything left for my usual sprint from mile 3 through the clock, but that wasn't the case.
A mile and two-hundredths later, I was across the finish line, feeling more acquainted with the Bonita Lakes area than ever before.
I fell in love with Boston from running. I learned the city’s quarks and had some of the best landmarks on my routes.
Fenway Park was the star of my short, quick 2-miler. The Charles River was center stage of longer runs. If I was up and out the door early enough, I’d run Newbury and Boylston streets before the business – and shopping – days started.
When I broke my foot, I was training for a half marathon and started combining all my routes together into a tour of Boston as the days at Northeastern University dwindled down to graduation.
Now that I have conquered the Mississippi heat and found that the mornings are runnable, I hope to create my own tour here.
My first drive up Poplar Springs Drive, I gawked at some of the houses near the high school. Then again at the ones off North Hills. And more on streets when I got lost.
I have a favorite house a few streets over from my parent’s in St. Louis.
Here, I already have a list of contenders, but I’m leaving it to the pavement to find a winner.