But I have to move to southwestern Michigan. Yes... I have to leave Columbus. I'll still have significant ties to Columbus (academically and socially) so I will still be around here, visiting, a lot. It's about 5.5 hours away or so I think. When I'm in town on Saturdays, I'll still make an appearance at group runs. And I'm still doing the Columbus marathon (it's possible I'll have to scale back to the half depending on how moving and starting a new job goes). I really want to still have my "Columbus vegan runner" identity so I'm going to do what I can to preserve that for as long as possible.
Where I'm going it's going to be hard to find other runners, and there aren't really any nice long dedicated running trails. I'm going to have to run on roads without sidewalks--country roads, curvy woodsy roads, where pickup trucks barrel along with no regard for pedestrians because they don't expect to see them. And I'm afraid it's going to be hard to find running buddies. So far, I've found the following running clubs:
- Goshen, IN: Two Rivers Running Club --I have some ties to Goshen and it's about an hour from where I'll be living, but I might be staying there overnight sometimes. So it's not out of the question that I could run with these folks once a week or something, maybe.
- Michiana Runners: Northern Indiana/Southwest Michigan --this is most likely the biggest group in the area, but it's also the most intimidating. I bet these people take themselves seriously and are fast runners and serious runners rather than slow people like me. There's a Tuesday run at 530 from downtown South Bend, IN (about 45 minutes from my work), a Thursday run from Mishawaka (also about 45 minutes from me), a run from Notre Dame campus a couple times a week (no real details there--also about 45 minutes from me), and informal group runs on Saturday/Sunday. Again, about 45 minutes away from me. I might just have to plan that one day a week I'll drive 45 minutes for a group run so I can actually have friends and meet people.
- PMC running club: Berrien Springs (only about 25 minutes from my work). Close by, but they cancelled group runs until September... seems from that that they aren't a very reliable option.
- Monday Night Running Club: This is my first option since it's very close to my work. We'll see how it goes.
- Kalamazoo Area Runners: This is probably my last option. Kalamazoo is about 50 minutes from work, I think. But I think this is probably a really big club.
Taking up trail running is also on the table, maybe. I'm not sure what kinds of trails exist but I bet there are at least some.
As far as eating vegan goes, this is going to be a real test of my creativity. There's not even a Kroger within 45 minutes of where I might end up living. The closest Whole Foods and Trader Joe's is Chicago (about 2.5 hours). I'm probably going to have to drive to Indiana weekly with a cooler to "import" organic produce and anything "unusual" I want like almond/soy milk, tofu, tempeh, etc. The grocery store in my town is called Harding's and it's basically a middle-America meat-and-dairy-based market. It was extremely disappointing. And restaurants are for the most part completely out of the question. Heck, the nearest Starbucks is apparently 20 miles away. Really, though, it was eye-opening... I mean, no wonder middle America doesn't even consider veganism an option. It's like the stores there MAKE it not an option. You can't expect people to learn new or healthier ways of eating if there aren't CHOICES available and even the produce looks like wilted garbage. Agh. It disappoints me on so many levels. So, keep following for news of what I find around there and how I make this work (obviously, I plan to make it work, even if it's a pain in the ass to do so.)
That's another reason I'll be visiting Columbus. Not only will I miss my old friends and my old haunts, but my old ability to eat wherever I want at restaurants whenever I feel like it, and going out to the store to pick up groceries easily and simply within just a little mile drive, or half mile walk to the co-op.
Buying a Prius is also something I'm thinking about, since I'm going to probably have to drive around so much in order to keep from going insane from isolation and crappy food options. I'd feel slightly less guilty if I wasn't burning through gas money while simultaneously killing the environment.
So it's a time of transition in these parts. I am hoping my blog can retain its old identity but also reflect the new one; maybe it can also have a page and some resources about how to be vegan when you live in the middle of nowhere rural woodsy American whatever. (On the drive between Goshen Indiana and my new town in Michigan, I also went past a Tyson slaughterhouse. At that point I really had some serious doubts in mind about what I've gotten myself into location-wise. It was very, very shocking.)
The job though is basically my dream job. I'm really really happy and I feel very fortunate, even if it's going to take a little adjusting. I went from being all "omg what is going to happen to me, my life is a bunch of unknowns and I have no money" to "wow i have pretty much the best opportunity ever." And a special shout out to Physically Philosophical: If things can fall into place for me this quickly/easily/unexpectedly, I'm sure some relief from the anxiety is headed your way too! Remember, we have oddly parallel lives ;)