When I made the decision to start running, I knew probably my biggest hurdle would be figuring out when and where to run.
Being that my bank account is still slowly in recovery mode from the shock of moving to a new city with zero income, I figured the $60-70 a month gyms were out. Plus, I’m pretty intimidated by gym crowds and didn’t want gym-goers to witness my measly attempts at learning how to run.
So obviously, I’d have to turn to the streets. I’m still figuring out Baltimore and the streets that are and aren’t safe. I know my own street is super safe, but if I walk a block and a half over, the area starts to get sketchy. This definitely isn’t my hometown’s safe little suburbs anymore and I’m still getting used to that.
While I wouldn’t call myself a morning person, if I need to get something done, I always do it in the morning. Especially now that I work full-time, all I want to do in the afternoons is put on a baggy sweatshirt, sweatpants, take my contacts out and put my glasses on, lay on my bed and watch TV or read.
So, I had to figure out safe morning routes since I recently decided I like arriving at work at 7:00. And routes that didn’t require difficult driving routes, since we all know I loathe driving.
I have a pitiful sense of direction and a tendency to space out, so I was hoping I could find a track or a trail or something that made sense logistically. I didn’t want to have to drive 10 minutes somewhere, only to have to drive 20 minutes back in the opposite direction to get back to my 25 minute route to work. I’d prefer not to drive period, but alas, I was prepared to make a sacrifice.
I Googled, scoured forums and message boards, reading routes and tried really hard to visualize and comprehend the routes. I had no idea where half the routes were located and was beginning to wonder how the heck this would work out when I remembered there’s a small college literally five minutes down the road from where I work that’s free to the public. Score. So I planned it all out, I’d get up at 5:10, leave my house at 5:30, get to the track by 6 and run, baby, run.
For all my meticulous planning and preparing, I did not plan on how freaking dark it would be. I just assumed goodness and light followed wherever I went.
So when I showed up today for my run, I was more prepared than last time. I had my black hat and black gloves to match my black jacket, black yoga pants, black Spi-belt, black I-pod headphones and black Mizunos. But it was again, so freaking dark. The college’s track is isolated on their campus and they don’t have the lights on.
I immediately visualized how most of my favorite crime shows begin. They typically show the victim going about their usual routine before they get grabbed, attacked, or slaughtered. And if I were watching, say, Law & Order: SVU, and saw a young female running around a track which is quasi-surrounded by forest where nobody would hear her if she screamed, all by herself in total darkness, with her I-pod on, wearing all black, I’d probably facepalm and bemoan “Oh my God, what a moron!!! Of course she’s going to get killed, DUH.”
“So,” I thought, “This isn’t smart. Like, at all.”
As I was standing in the parking lot thinking these thoughts, a Public Safety car drove by and pulled over.
Officer: “Good morning.” (Translation: I’m trying to see if you have the student or staff parking tags and if not, what the heck you’re doing here standing in the parking lot, dressed in all black in the pitch-black 6 a.m. hour)
Me: “Good morning! I’m here to run.”
I point awkwardly to the track 100 yards away, and then realize he probably is well aware of where the track is.
Me: “But now…I realize it’s probably a dumb idea. It’s pretty dark out and there’s no lights.”
Officer (smirks): “Ya think?”
So I left because I realized it was just idiotic. For illustration here’s a picture from the parking lot before the Public Safety officer and I had a jolly chat.
Now, I’m trying to decide where to go from here. Figuring all this out is so annoying. I just want to be a in a routine already. For now, here’s my plan. By 6:40 this morning, it was definitely lighter outside and the sun was starting to peek through. I’m thinking I might just run then and get to work at like 7:20-7:25, as opposed to 7.
At least I won’t have to get up at 5?!