33 of 52: Centennial Park

We Meet Again

It’s been 2 and a half months since I set out – unprepared – to find my way on foot from Katie’s house to Centennial park. I failed miserably the first time.

Spoiler – this time I made it.

I’m not sure why this was a goal for me. I guess I’m just trying to find these surface level reasons to run in order to keep things interesting. Trying to make my own bright shiny objects to keep me focused so the other ones don’t distract me from doing this thing.

Centennial Park was the site of my first ever Olympic distance triathlon – and it was HARD. The swim was okay, but the bike was BRUTAL with a ton of hills and the run was the same.

I remember heading out of the park for the portion of the run that went through a nearby neighborhood and seeing Kevin M FLYING up a very steep hill on the way back *into* the park. Steep enough and long enough so it had those motivational sidewalk chalk phrases all over it.

“You got this AMY!”

“What Hill???”

He was almost done and I had 3 or 4 miles to go. I remember thinking…

“That guy is a badass…”

The Run

Unlike my prior attempt to run to this park, I decided to map out my run ahead of time so I could see if the distance was even going to be near 13.1. It was. I hadn’t even considered that part of it before. I think I just licked my thumb and stuck it up into the air as if this was going to allow me to measure distance using the earth’s magnetic field. Everyone knows that saliva is very sensitive to magnetic waves.

Don’t hate – it’s science.

The route that actually got me to Centennial Park

The run was really pleasant. The temperature was rising and there was a bit more elevation than I usually seek out but it was nice. I found the variety in scenery, a specific destination and well marked trails came together to take the whole “burden” of the run off my shoulders.

My first Point of Interest was Blandair Regional Park which I have been seeing from my car from Rt. 175 since it was first being built. This is the first time I got to see it up close – and it is nice.

From there I focused on making my way to Lake Kittamaqundi which I hadn’t been around since my first Out of the Darkness community walk back in 2014 (2013?). Getting there took me on a pedestrian bridge over Rt. 29 which was really cool.

After crossing Rt. 29 I took a chance and went around the “back side” of the lake and sniffed my way up to Running Brook Road – which I learned from the map would take me most of the rest of the way to the park.

Lake Kittamaqundi

But what I did not learn from the map is that Running Brook Road is kinda hilly. I had been going downhill for most of this run and it was while I was climbing up part of this road that I realized of course – there would be a lot more of this on the way home.

Fine.

I was *just* about to the entrance to the park when my watch ticked 6.55 miles – halfway. I thought about turning around for the sole purpose of making this a three part “epic” quest but then I realized that the third installment would be so lame…

“This time I would run the extra .00234 miles to the entrance of the park…”

So I kept on running into the park. Took a picture and made my way back the way I came.

Proof! As if I were discovering something…

The uphills weren’t as awful as I had thought they would be and was otherwise uneventful – aside from a close encounter with a deer on the way back. Yeah – that happened. I stopped at a light, checked my watch and as I was looking around (safety first) I looked to my right and maybe 15 feet away standing behind a branch was a deer. Staring at me. Giving me the side eye the way deer will do. I think we both saw each other at the same time and we were both like “Oh. hello there.” It stopped mid-chew…

My pal – the deer.

Deer: Don’t say it…
Me: Oh.. deer. (I’m so funny)
Deer: Fucking humans.
Me: Hey there…what are you doing?
Deer: Hey. Just having some lunch. You look like crap and you smell funny.
Me: I know. I’ll be outta your way in a minute.
Deer: Cool. See ya ’round … maybe.
Me: See ya.

The light turned in my favor and I crossed the road and ran the last half mile back to Katie’s place.

Not the Run

On the way back I noticed this sign outside of this orchard/produce stand/snoball place.

What a weird sign I thought.

I mean it’s funny and interesting enough that I took a picture of it… but it’s weird. I read it and I was like “did you just threaten me?” Like – I didn’t do anything and yet your sign – makes me not want to visit you. You don’t even know me and you are threatening me… sort of.

It’s worded as if the owner could say “oh that just means I have a fast dog.” but really we all know it means “if you steal one of my peaches this dog will eat you.” And to me this makes it unwelcoming.

I’m over analyzing, sure. I know its a clever sign designed to make you think twice about trespassing without being overtly aggressive but I think that – while I am a big fan of subtlety and the creative use of language – when it comes to warnings and threats I prefer the direct approach. Using vague language feels like cowardice – like “I reserve the right to re-explain myself in a better light if I get scared.” and so since I have been hearing this kind of talk from politicians of all types lately – this sign made me grumpy.

It reminded me that there is still a lot of hate in the world based on absolutely nothing.

It reminded me that, while I am ignorant of literally every person I don’t know, I would much rather spend my time getting to know them than hating them. I want to say that the haters don’t deserve that kind of effort – but of course they do, or else I am them.

The Deer is right… Fucking Humans

Next Week: A Run Into Everyone

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