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.


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Horrors-you made me want to get up before dawn. (i'm a bit of a night gal!)

    As to efficiency - I found, in winter, the elliptical at the gym, the most effective -saves knees, can be even more efficient than a run -as an academic, you may have very cheap/free access; just a thought.

    2472 days ago
  • RHOOK20047
    Welcome to SparkPeople. We are all here for the same reason, no matter what our personal story is. We are here to help each other to get to that healthy point we want to be in our lives. It is not going to be easy, but it is attainable. I have found that changing things up is the way to start weight loss. Make small goals and they will lead to big successes. Welcome and get active on this site. emoticon
    2474 days ago
    2474 days ago
    I envy your early morning escapade. I had thought I might get up early this morning and jog but my bed had other plans for me.
    I agree with you about not being into the culture, I picked up a few free runners magazines at the library earlier this summer and I just wasn't into all of the gear and enthusiasm for the run itself. I chuckled when I read about people using their running time to think out a problem make plans...all I am thinking about when I run is "how do I stay running...this sux" I am at that place where I just want to get the calories burned as quickly as possible, to get sweating, and unless its over 90* walking just doesn't cut it.
    Good for you that you are making the most of the early morning hours!

    2475 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5465300
    I'm also a huge fan of the early morning workout. It allows me to space out, plan my day, and accomplish something for myself before I get pulled in every other direction by life.

    I envy you your park. I'm stuck with the windows of the gym, which I stare out of as I watch the day brighten (I also love that part - watching the world awaken). Since I'm generally intolerant of any weather below 72 or above 78 degrees, I guess that's for the best.
    2475 days ago
  • GORDON66
    I live in a suburb of Chicago, but I do work in the Loop. I get downtown between 6 and 6:30, and it's amazing how quiet it is. Although I don't have the knees for it, I can see how early morning running can be a terrific way to start the day.

    Enjoy your runs!!!
    2475 days ago
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