sunrises and spandex
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Like many of you, I live in a big city. I do not live in the suburbs, though. I live right smack in the downtown core. The area is crowded, smelly, noisy and always alive. There is a park across the street, sandwiched between tall buildings. Despite the influx of diesel and exhaust fumes from busy streets, the park is a popular place either to relax and enjoy the summer weather or, when darkness falls, to score crystal meth. The city is only quiet, and the park is only empty, at dawn. This is when I like to go running. I have noticed that there is an entire subculture of ultra-early risers who like to make their way to this park to either power-walk, run, or participate in boot-camps (I might join the boot-camp next summer). My struggles with running aside-----I write "running" but I really mean intervals of walking and jogging------I have fallen completely in love with going out before the sun has a chance to rise. I love finishing my work-out and being rewarded on my walk back home by the sight of a pinking horizon. I love the sense of having accomplished something before the day has had a chance to even begin. This is what keeps me on track.
I actually never intended to start running. I don't like it. I have never liked it, even when I used to really run myself a decade or so ago. People love to run, and I am happy that they are happy. But when friends discuss their running, my eyes glaze over at talk that starts becoming excruciatingly detailed. Even though I adore them as people, I don't care if someone's time has improved by a minute, or an hour. I detest the cheesy spandex 'outfits' and commercialized accessories. I guess I am just not crazy about running as a culture.
So what the heck am I doing running? It's simple, really. Walking just takes up too much of my time. Don't get me wrong, I love to walk. I joined a "mileage" challenge last month in one the SP teams. I walked my a$$ off. Seriously. But the amount of time spent walking versus the calorie-burning effect just seems inefficient to me in the context of the way my life is. I am fortunate enough to not have health problems that would prevent me from running (those of you who work around health obstacles are inspiring to me, you have no idea). I also have a lot of things to do during the day. I am trying to write a dissertation. I am taking an extra class. I also work. I was so frazzled and stressed-out and miserable all of last year prior to joining SP that I decided that I absolutely had to make a change. Along with improving my health, I had to make time-management a priority in my life. This signaled a major change for me. I am going to manage my time so that I actually HAVE time: time to read, time to write a few letters, time to go to an art opening, a concert, shopping, etc ... Time to have a LIFE. If the dissertation takes longer than planned, so be it. The only way I can accomplish this time-management goal is to increase the intensity of my work-outs thereby decreasing the time spent walking. And for me right now, that cashes out as running.
Winter is coming. Winter means snow and ice, and constitutes a slight but looming obstacle to this plan. But I'll build that running bridge when I get to it.