Jordan – Chicago

February 29, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of February and what caused you to feel that way?)

Today was one of those days that makes me wish I could stay in one place. We had a 15-mile run today, and although I may have only experienced a true runner’s high two or three times in my life, today came awfully close. It’s been a few years since I looked forward to my runs, given that most of my life thus far has been spent in competition with myself and others. Now I’m running because I want to be. Every Saturday at 7:30am, we run towards the Chicago skyline. Sometimes it’s across sheets of ice and on days when the windy city proves its name. Sometimes the sun sparkles on Lake Michigan like a summer day. Often on long runs I become aware that I was created supremely for endurance, to carry heavy burdens across stretches of time and space.  

This past month I received word from two of the graduate schools I applied to, the University of Minnesota and Brown University. Normally if you get into a school, you get a physical letter with an all caps, huge, golden CONGRATULATIONS across the front, but for graduate school, it’s a simple email with the headline, “Decision Made.” Instead of smiling immediately, you hold your breath and try not to pee in your pants while you incorrectly enter in your login information 6 times trying to view the results. I told my friend, Preston, first since we’ve been talking about our plans for the future for at least a year now. Preston is one of those friends that roots genuinely and openly for your success and happiness, and the awkwardness of expressing that you care about someone’s life dissipates immediately with him. Sharing that I had been accepted into both my alma mater and an Ivy League made the news especially sweet.

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

Today was great! We’re halfway through the training season, so our Saturday long runs are getting quite high in mileage. I received two acceptance letters for graduate school and am waiting to hear back from three more. Hopefully in the next two weeks, I will know where I’ll be living in June. 

Question 3: Two paths diverge in a yellow wood… which do you choose? One winds into a dark canopy headed towards a beautiful valley, and the other heads straight for the top of the mountain. Choose wisely 😉

The mountain, naturally. I’m a winter person anyway and would enjoy the ski down. I’m imagining Pike’s Peak, the Nordkette, Olympus maybe. I listened to a podcast once from Foreign Policy in which a professional hiker recounted his trek up Mount Everest, the year at least 11 people died on the summit. He talked us through the training, the base camps, the short window of time that he and his Sherpa had to make it to the peak before running out of oxygen. He described the shortness of breath. Breath, breath, step. Breath, breath, step. Frankly nothing gives me more excitement than this sort of physical challenge, especially when reaching the finish is not a given. Would there be anything in the valley to equal the relief of finishing such a quest? 

I memorized this poem in 6th grade and have thought about it since. Frost writes, “Knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Were I never at this same crossroads again, I would regret not taking the path of my natural instinct. I’d rather seek glory than beauty. #dramaqueen