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We’ve all got that place. Whether it be a park, a hidden trail, a boardwalk, or even just the city streets, there is that place in our hometown that is our favorite place to run. It’s the place where, even after years of being away, you instantly fall back into a comfortable pace and it feels like you never left. It brings back memories of runs past, or, if you run it often, provides that sanctuary that allows you to escape the rest of the world and find that sense of peace you can sometimes struggle to find in the every day chaos of life.
Just recently my wife, son, and I moved back to my hometown to help fix up the house I grew up in to get it ready to sell. The move was stressful, and being back in the house where I grew up has been surreal. After a few days of just trying to unbox everything, set things up, run errands, and run back and forth to storage, I finally had the chance to just run.
Hurricane Sandy did a number on the Jersey shore. Boardwalks were washed away and buildings and homes were destroyed. The towns have done an incredible job of rebuilding. The boardwalk where I run is new, buildings have been replaced by portable food trailers…the landscape has definitely changed. Yet despite how different things looked, once I took those first few steps of the run it was like being home again. As we strode down the boardwalk, me pushing my son in the jogging stroller and my wife running by my side, I was quickly reminded of so many runs here growing up. The sun beating down on us, the beautiful beach to our sides, the sounds and smells of the shore in the summer…it was incredible. I’m so grateful to be able to share that experience with my wife and son.
Yes, there are a few other favorite runs of mine near my hometown, but there’s something about running the boardwalk in the summer that is unmatched by any other running experience.