The best way to see a city is from your feet

Ever since my freshman high school volleyball team made a not-so-hard pass at my membership more than 10 years ago, I’ve been a runner.

With hundreds of 5Ks, five-milers and 10Ks, four spring and four winter track seasons, two half marathons and one full marathon under my belt, I’m realizing now, as I fight my nearly year-long battle with posterior tibial tendonitis which has kept me out of my sneakers since December that like a crappy boyfriend, I’ve been taking running for granted.

Jenna Intersimone at the New York City Marathon.

My runs have seen it all. From the side streets of Florence to 26.2 miles of New York City and back to my now-local streets of Somerville, I’ve found, through my runs, a grounding from my bubbling anxiety, answers to gripping problems, a confidence I never felt as a chubby little kid and a way to see a space like no car, train or plane ever will.

Through each of my many moves, I’ve discovered that the best way to really discover a place and feel enveloped in it is simply to run it – no map, GPS or routing required. There aren’t many more natural ways to find hidden trails, an awesome bagel shop, see an area’s staple characters or view an iconic locale from a head-spinning angle than when doing so in a pair of shorts and sneakers.

READ: The five best things about nomad life

I’ve always hated moving but I always get stuck doing it for various reasons and I’m forced to make a new home, yet again. But by getting my bearings through running, I feel like I can settle in to a new place and start to feel comfortable there (and like I actually know where I’m going).

However, even though running has showed me the world, made me feel strong and worked out the kinks of my brain, I haven’t been very nice to it.

I’ve complained before pretty much every race I’ve ever signed up for. I half-assed stretching sessions. I’ve stayed huddled in bed when it’s been too cold, rainy or snowy.

Jenna Intersimone and Michael Thomas at the Run the Hook 5K.

Now, struggling through 20-minute run/walk sessions as I try everything I can to repair my weakened tendon near my ankle, I’m wishing I had been a little nicer.

I would literally pay any amount of money to be running four days a week again like I used to (actually, I have already paid money – to date, I have spent $250 on physical therapy on this injury and spent probably around another $200 on compression socks, ice packs, orthotics, foam rollers, massage balls and the like).

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But unfortunately, running injuries aren’t something you can pay your way out of. There are countless experts out there (podiatrists, chiropractors, physical therapists, personal trainers) as well as countless methods of recovery (stretching, ice baths, ice massaging, active release therapy,  cortizone shots, walking boots, Galloway method) some of which will make you worse off, some of which will help you and some of which won’t do anything.

So, as I stumble through what will hopefully be my last running injury in a long, long while and try out these methods with a hop, skip and a prayer (not a run), I just wanted to say, I’m sorry running. Hopefully, the next time we meet, I’ll have a cool new place to show you and you can stick around for a bit.

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