In February 2020, right before the world shut down and the majority of the population went into isolation and we all started to lose some of our identity and connection with others, I moved to Portland, OR from San Diego with my wife and daughter. All the normal feels of a move came with it: Excitement to explore a new place, an opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends, and hit some refresh buttons on a few bad habits. Then, well, that whole covid thing happened.
Working remotely for the same company as I did in SD, I maintained friends (from work and real life) via zoom and social media. While the pandemic didn’t help to make connections in a new city, there was also a bit of heavy drinking, negative attitude, and general apathy that I turned to fill the voids where family couldn’t. Having been a weekend warrior-type runner since high school, never taking it all that seriously, I decided to lace up my shoes one day and just get out there… see how it felt… see what my legs could do… explore this new city a bit more.
Off and on for the next 6-9 months, casual running became more purposeful, and I began to develop a pretty solid routine. I also decided that, if this was going to be something to take seriously, booze was only fucking up my progress. So I kicked that in September 2020, and dove headlong into getting in shape and making running more of my identity.
In February 2021, I decided it was time to commit to this, and registered for the Portland Marathon, which took place in October 2021. I shared my running journey and training plans with anyone who would listen: Work friends who also ran, work friends who did not run but humored me politely, some IG running influencers disguised as coaches, family afar, the few friends I did know in town, and of a supportive wife and excited daughter. But there was something missing, still… Something more connective to the entirety of the running community.
The marathon came and went, and I surprised myself with my time effort: way better than I thought I could do. That’s when I realized I “could do this.” (Whatever “this” was.) So my training continued, with no real goal in mind, other than to maintain my fitness, a clear head, a booze-free liver, and a relatively happy demeanor. (The saying, “you never regret going for a run,” is 10000% true.) During this time, I also started to identify and reach out to local runners in the Portland area just to say what’s up. I mean, I’m here. Might as well.
Fast-forward to July of 2022 when the cruel mistress, Life, let me know my role has been eliminated, along with it one of my main sources of connection to the “outside” world. It fucking sucked. No fancy words for it. Almost overnight, I went from a world of support and connection to feeling super alone. (For whatever reason, too, I listened to Cobra Juicy about 100 times that week.)
But in tragedy comes opportunity… and through loneliness comes cause for affiliation. Said more simply, I felt alone, and I hated it. Since I knew how to run, and I presumed there were others out there that may feel the same, or at least could selfishly help me feel less alone, I acted on the feeling.
I took all the experience I’ve garnered throughout my professional career as a brand manager, content marketer, community builder, and storyteller and channeled it to what I knew best: connecting with people and writing about it.
This is Leggggs: Stories, insights, and connections curated to make you feel less lonely through running.