#RunPhD: Just a Blue Truck

After running the same routes a few times, or a few dozen times, it can be easy to just get into a rhythm where you are all about getting to the end. I have a six-mile route in my neighborhood that has a flat first mile, three miles with hills, and then flat two miles back toward home (with some stop lights to either race or use a breathing breaks). The loop takes me about an hour and is the perfect distance to get in a good workout without leaving me worn out the rest of the day.

I was out on my loop Thursday morning, getting in some miles before the temperature reached the expected mid-80s. Coming downhill near the midpoint, I remembered that I was near a point where a cool looking blue truck was often parked. Not remembering exactly where it was, I found myself hoping to see it and thinking it would be disappointing to miss out on this familiar sight.

When it came into view past some overgrown trees, I realized I’d put a lot of thought into this sight. It was just a random blue truck after all. Someone who knows vehicles might know the age, type, or monetary value. All I knew was that it stood out of the pack. I thought that it would be the perfect truck for a trip to the beach and could easily picture a set of surfboards strapped to the top.

I’d estimate that I’d run past that truck at least 20 times in the past year or two. And while in all those passings, I’d never given it a lot of conscious thought, it had left an imprint on me. It had a story that I did not know, and never would know. It was part of a home and family I had never met, and probably never would meet. Heck, I didn’t even know the sound of its engine (assuming of course that it worked). It was just a blue truck parked on the side of the road.

And I’m just a runner going past. With a story, a home, and a voice that not everyone gets to know.

I’ve survived 12 marathons and one Ph.D. program. So…now what? I’ve learned through the journeys that it’s not about intelligence, speed, magic beans, or waiting for it to get easy. It’s about strength and perseverance. This year’s blog series will be about #WhatsNext after crossing some major finish lines, and preparing for new starting lines as a runner and a (not that kind of) doctor. I am #RunPhD.

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