Though some may say that the canal is flat, boring, and repetitive, I find it beautiful and adventurous. I've logged thousands of miles on this path in the past 5 years so it is needless to say I've gotten to know the area very well.
I know it so well that I can point out which tree stump, campground or rock marks a mile in any direction where I start.
The canal helped me grow from running 3 miles to 50 in those 5 years. I remember running my first 10k in Williamsport thinking I was so badass then! But in a year's time, I was able to run my first marathon from Clear Spring to Taylor's Landing.
However, that was still a far cry from where I ended up just over a year ago. I ran 30 miles in preparation for the JFK 50.
Not all my runs on the canal were perfect, however. There were days it where flooded and prevented me from going far.
There were also days the weather was perfect, but I managed to trip and bang up my knee (the day Peter proposed).
Speaking of Peter, once he started running, the both of us took many dates to the canal.
It led him to run longer distances. He has now run 3 marathons, most of which were trained for on the canal.
The canal has become a part of who I am. So today, when I ran knowing it would be the last time I would be as a Maryland resident, it was very hard for me. The canal has become that friend that I've shared good times and bad. It has seen my laughter, my tears, my pain, and my victories. I've spent countless hours on this stretch of land. More than some of my friends have probably seen me! Though it may sound terrible, it's true and further proves why I will miss it so much!
But life goes on. There will be more "canals" that I will find in San Diego, I'm sure. Also, I will come back to visit so it's not like I will never run here again.
Still, it was almost as if it was my security blanket path. I felt very comfortable here and now I have to learn to trust another path with new people. Goodbye, comfort zone! But this is an opportunity for me to grow as a person. This will be a good thing.
Anyway, here's some memories from my final C&O Canal run...until next time. Peace out!