My Running Loop

Allison Dolzonek

More stories from Allison Dolzonek

Thoughts on Spring
February 25, 2016
My Running Loop

I was on a run. It was a beautiful (seasonably warm) 60-degree and sunny day here at Le Moyne. A slight breeze was blowing and I could smell Spring in the air as I leaped and hopped over puddles of melted snow on the pavement. I was halfway through my running loop, my thoughts moving through my head faster than my feet on the ground, when a particular thought bounced into my mind and slapped me across the face: I will be graduating from Le Moyne College in 70 days.

I mean, I knew that. I knew that I was graduating come May. But it was in the middle of my run, on my loop, my eyes closed, and my head tilted towards the sun like a blooming flower, that I realized I had been running this same exact loop around campus for the last three and a half years. And now, somehow, within the next 70 days, I’ll run this loop for the last time in my entire life.

My loop that I first ran the second semester of my Freshman year, counting the miles until my Alabama summertime would come and knock its hot and humid fist on my door.

My loop that I ran as a Sophomore, when time was on my side. Through cool fall evenings, holding my breath as I stomped over ginkgo tree seeds while the sun set behind me.

My loop that I ran as a Junior, weakly and unsuccessfully attempting to sweat out the heartbreak and hangovers of the most difficult days of my college career.

And my loop that I run to this day, constructing plans for my future that will inevitably be razed to the ground within the next few weeks, as is the case for all plans made in life.

So the other day, I stopped at the top of one of the numerous hills I run up, turned around and sat down, staring out and over at the campus. Wherever I end up next year, I realized, I will have to create a new running loop. There will be no more passing by the mailman draped in blue every Tuesday morning, as he pulls over to the side of the road to smoke a cigarette. There will be no more stopping under the crosswalk that connects the Science Center and Grewen to stare out over the Syracuse skyline. There will be no more riling up of my aunt’s dogs, as I slow down my pace past her living room window. (I bet you didn’t know I slowed down, aunty, did you?). There will be no more Le Moyne plaza, filled with prospective students enjoying their first slice of Cam’s pizza, no more baconesque scents wafting up the street from the caf, no more jumping over potholes, no more lull of the chapel bells on the few times I was lucky enough to run by at the top of the hour, and no more street corner at the top of the hill I can sit on and watch the sun set behind a white house with a green roof, the surrounding trees dissecting the rays of light like uncooked pasta spilled across a blue kitchen floor.

In 70 short days, I’ll have to design a brand new running loop. So I guess, at the end of it all, this is a thank you to my loop. A thank you for seeing me through the good and the bad, the sunrises and sunsets, the snow and the slight drizzle, the clouds and the blue sky, and the Norwegian spruces and the red maples.

I don’t know the total distance I ran on my loop these past years, but I guess that’s why I love my loop. I never really felt the need to count the miles.

I just ran.