New Runs, New Home, New Life

As some of you know, I’m currently in San Diego. I have been living in Toronto, Canada since I was 3 years old and travelled here one week ago. I came to train and race my second ultra, Noble Canyon 50k, on a generous sponsorship from Sport Kilt.

This is my first athletic sponsorship and a very exciting opportunity for me. Although I’ve done a fair share of traveling through the States and overseas, I have never been in a city that felt quite like San Diego. There’s something about this place that grows on you. In other parts of the world I’ve felt like a tourist, happily passing through and experiencing new things. But San Diego feels like home.

The running here is like something straight out of my dreams. Hills and mountains and beaches and caves and canyons. Tough but breathtaking. I feel so blessed and fulfilled running through these trails that it’s hard to see myself living anywhere else. (The picture above is where I ran yesterday.)

In seven days, this city has opened its heart and its doors to me. Sometimes it’s big things – like being offered a great job, work visa, and an opportunity for me to stay permanently (more on that later). Or little things like winning Chargers game tickets. Or even the fact that in seven days I have more friends here than I ever did in Toronto.

But mostly it’s the running that’s blowing my mind. I can’t do these trails justice by describing the scenery or taking pictures. I can really only describe them by the way they make me feel and what they make me think. Here are some of the thoughts I’ve had on my San Diegan trail runs:

1. Mostly I try to figure out how I got here. What I did right, or what turn I took to end up in such an amazing place. What I’ve even done to deserve this kind of beauty. How scenery so breathtaking can be free. I wonder whether I went the long way or the hard way or whether I hurt people to get here. Maybe I took some shortcuts or maybe I could have been here sooner. But it doesn’t matter now. I’m here. And I’ve found my personal heaven.

2. I feel closer to God.  This is something I’m reluctant to admit because I don’t really consider myself a religious person. This also doesn’t fit with what I’ve been taught about God. I’ve made enough wrong turns in my life to be told several times that I will never find peace. That God will punish, not bless me. I think the people I’ve hurt need to believe in divine justice. They need to think that God is paying me back. So it is with a bit of guilt that I bask in the feeling of being near Him. Of being loved and highly favored.

3. I don’t listen to much Christian music, and it’s been years since I’ve heard hymns. But when I run here, there is one hymn that always comes to mind. The lyrics embed themselves in my brain like a mantra, and I don’t know where they come from. But it makes me feel that the God I’ve been taught about isn’t the God that IS. That the real God perhaps doesn’t prioritize rewards and punishments. But instead teaches me daily what really matters: The rich, orange sand between my naked toes. And getting lost on the side of a mountain.

(Direct YouTube link HERE)