Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Picture This: Where I Run

My daily runs aren't exactly a pretty sight.  I see your pictures on Instagram of snowy fields and well-groomed trails and grassy expanses of open land and I get a little - okay, a lot - jealous.  I don't really have a lot of that picturesque beauty here in middle of suburbia.  It's why a lot of my weekday running photos are selfies with a little patch of grass or a sliver of sunrise in the background; that's as pretty as it gets around here (and I'm definitely not talking about me).

I have a client who always wants to run "someplace pretty."  She insists on getting in her car and driving someplace with lots of trees and greenery so she can enjoy her run.  I definitely see the appeal, but I've never thought of it as a necessity.  Most of the time, I don't pay that much attention to where I'm running, other than to try not to trip and fall (which doesn't always work out).  Sure, I love to run on the trails out in nature, but I'm just as happy with walking out my front door and following the sidewalk for a few miles.

This is where I run:

In neighborhoods.  This is probably my least favorite, and not just because it's ugly.  The sidewalks are narrow and are often blocked by poorly parked cars.  I also think it's one of the most dangerous places to run - people backing out of their driveways are almost never looking for pedestrian traffic.  I do enjoy the occasionally friendly cat meowing hello at me, though.

On city streets.  This one is a favorite during daylight hours because there's very little traffic and still some open land.  Sometimes I see bunnies hopping through this field.  Unfortunately, I've also seen snakes on this road, but once I saw an owl perched on a lamppost, so it all evens out.  I tend not to run here when it's dark because in the early morning hours this is a long, lonely stretch of road and I'd rather be a little more visible.

On major streets.  I do most of my running on major streets like this one.  The sidewalks are nice and wide and generally well-maintained.  Plus, it's hard to get lost on a straight road and there are always cars around if a big dog or a crazy hooligan tries to give me a hard time.  I don't mind trading the smell of exhaust and McDonald's for the security of knowing that there's always a bathroom nearby if I need one.

The nature trail.  MY nature trail.  This is, hands down, my favorite place to run, even though it's a short little stretch of trail - just a mile long.  I've been known to run back and forth on the trail and rack up long distances, but mostly this is either the first mile of my run or the last.  I love to watch the creek change with the seasons and I get to see all sorts of waterfowl whose names I promise myself I'm going to look up.  On one side of the trail are peoples' back yards, so I'm not really out in the wilderness here, but I can pretend.

As far as I'm concerned, any run is a good run, whether I was dodging parked cars or soaking in the beauty of a serene lake.  I'm just happy to be out there running.

Where do you run?  Do you prefer the convenience of an "ugly" run in town, or do you seek out a more attractive environment?


Marcia said...

Are you talking to me? You know I'm always out in nature. We don't even have sidewalks where I live....you know outside the family tent...just prairies and coyotes and stuff. You need to come visit. But not now cuz it's flippin' freezing.

PahlaB said...

I'm always talking to you. :) And I am totally going to come and visit you someday! I volunteer to sherpa for your first ultra. Hopefully it won't be in the snow. Ha!

Laura said...

I'm too lazy to drive anywhere to run. (I take that back. Sometimes I drive about mile to the bottom of the hill so my last mile isn't up a hill.) Fortunately, there's some nice trails in the hills and by the water that are convenient (i.e. I start at my front door) and aren't too ugly.

Coach Dion said...

I have a mountain and the Green Belts... not to mention the forest and the track!

So that is why I run every day!

Andrea said...

I prefer scenic runs by a long shot. I am lucky because it is very convenient to do that. But I also go to the gym some and use the TM which is not scenic at all.

Michael Weatherly said...

LOL, you and I are the same. I see people post these gorgeous running pics all the time, and I think why can't I run somewhere like that. I definitely run mostly in suburbia...wow...look at that house.

Raina said...

My favorite thing about you -you are REAL!
OK... I think this post was directed towards me. I am very blessed to have scenic runs, even just stepping out my door. But I don't get any drinking fountains or emergency fuel opportunities. There are trades. Come run here any time!

Kate said...

I'll occasionally run streets in our town. More neighborhood streets than main city streets, but trails have me spoiled for that easy bathroom access. Seems like when I end up running, places with public bathrooms aren't open, and I'm just not up on going into a park bathroom at night alone. Most of my runs are on trails (that I end up driving an hour to because that's where my main running friends are) or at the gym.

PahlaB said...

I would love to take you up on that offer - you have amazing beauty at your doorstep!!

Reed said...

Good to read your story..thanks for sharing, this kind of blog encourages other to take part in Marathons..

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