Born and raised as a true northern girl in Ohio, I never thought I would one day be living in Alabama. I graduated from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s in Cardiovascular Perfusion in June 2010. When I graduated, there weren’t any jobs in Ohio so I started looking at jobs everywhere. My first interview was in Birmingham, Alabama and the job was amazing, I liked everyone I met so I went with it and accepted it. Even though I would be moving all by myself to a city, where I didn’t know a single soul, 500 miles from where I lived my whole life. So in August 2010, as a new college graduate, I set out on 65 South with my uhaul of all my belongings and my mind full of wonder. Wonder of what my first job in my new career would be like, wonder of who I’d spend time with, wonder of what Alabama had to offer me, and wonder what the South was really all about.
It didn’t take long to settle into my apartment or even long to settle into my job. I quickly adapted to my job as a perfusionist in open heart surgery and to my coworkers. After about a month or two of being here it was time to branch out even more. Time to find the runners of Birmingham, Alabama. I went to the local running store, Trakshak, in Homewood, Alabama. I told them I was new and looking for running groups; they had an abundance of information. I hit the jackpot when I went into the Trakshak. I later found out that Trakshak actually holds weekly runs year round where tons of runners, of all paces, come together. They told me several places that I could just show up and run to meet people. You can do a 3, 5, or 8 mile loop. I always did the 5 mile loop but after a few times going, I realized I spent about 45 minutes running and 2 hours hanging out afterward. If you’re a runner and in Birmingham, I highly recommend going to the Trashak on Wednesday!
The first place I went to run though was a place called the Brownell building on Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. The leader of this meeting, Al, leads runners year round as well, mostly helping people to train for the Mercedes Marathon which is here in town in February. The first Sunday I went I actually met one runner, Bill, who later would be one of the runners in my running group who have contributed so much to my running and life in general. Later I met the rest of the group Suman, Lester, Bryan, Kevin and Max.
So began my running in Alabama. I have run since junior high but did not get serious about it until 2 years before I came to Alabama. And low and behold Birmingham has an amazing running community so my running quickly improved. I ran a long run every Sunday with my new group. It has always been the favorite part of my week. Even though I run with a core group of about 6 runners, the atmosphere on Sunday morning on the Lakeshore bike trail and Mountain Brook is amazing. Running right at sunrise and saying “hi” to every runner that goes by is my favorite way to spend early Sunday mornings. We usually talk off and on during running, and sometimes go for coffee after running. This is my favorite part of running, meeting new people and learning new things from each other. I used to run alone when I thought I wasn’t fast enough but now I couldn’t see not knowing other runners. We even sometimes added track workouts during the week and came up with “challenges” to challenge each other. We motivated each other and even though we didn’t always do the same races, we were there for each other. I had only run one marathon when I came down here and with the encouragement of my running group, I ran my second marathon on May 1st, 2011 in Cincinnati, OH (my hometown) and smashed my personal record by 30 minutes. If I wasn’t in the running community here, I don’t think I would have done that marathon. The group I run with usually has at least one of us training for a marathon at any given time. My 3rd marathon is coming up on October 16th in Columbus, Ohio.
But coming up on a year since I’ve moved to Alabama, reality hits. When I moved down to Alabama I was a true Ohio girl and knew I would eventually go back to Ohio. This summer I got a job opportunity in Toledo, Ohio. Right about at the 6-8 month mark here in Alabama, I got very homesick and missed everyone I have back in Ohio. So at the beginning of the summer I jumped on the opportunity to move back to Ohio. I did not find out that I got the job until the beginning of September. And suddenly it hits me. I am truly sad to leave Birmingham, Alabama. I got past the homesickness and have not felt that way since around March. That’s when I think I finally started to consider this a new home for me. Realizing that I would be leaving in a month made me see what I really had here after just 1 year. I have a great job, a few really amazing friends, and
a super supportive and fun running group. And so comes the realization that sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I had a great year here and wouldn’t change coming here for anything. Now that the time has come for me to leave, I’m actually having a difficult time making myself. I am now finding myself homesick for Birmingham and all the amazing people in my life here and I have yet to leave. It seems too soon for me to be leaving but I know I have made some lifelong friends and memories.
I will truly miss the friends I’ve made here in Birmingham, Alabama. I think it is a great city to live in and it will always be a “home” to me. I am truly excited to see where life takes me and the people I’ve met here. I just hope that I can continue to have the people I’ve met here in my life. Hopefully y’all won’t forget about me up in Toledo, Ohio buried in the snow 🙂 Here’s to cherishing past experiences and welcoming new ones. –April
Shoutouts: Anita and Christie- You two crack me up and are so much fun, love you girls, and miss ya Katherine- i had a great time in bodypump and rpm with you, wish you the best in atlanta! My running Group- Suman, Bill, Bryan, Kevin, Max, Lester, thanks for being such a fun group to run alongside every Sunday and I better not be “replaced” 🙂 Fast Runner Girls 🙂 Lori and Sarah- sad we didn’t meet til this summer, it was so much fun hanging out with you two and we need to keep in touch, My bodypump instructors- Mark and Lauren, i loved going to your classes every week, PPG Work family- I had a great year with you guys, thanks for welcoming me with open arms, Doug and Dave you were the best and most supportive bosses.