Running Around

So while visiting family, I don’t always get to run very much. Typically, there just isn’t time (or at least that’s what I tell myself, it’s probably not a very good excuse).

I really enjoy running when I am there, though – they live in a really rural area, and it’s nice to be able to run down the road without too much worry about cars (and those that do come through give me pretty wide berth and usually slow down to wave). It’s also nice and quiet and the air smells really nice (except sometimes when running past farms…)! One problem, however, is that there are no sidewalks. This means that I pretty much have to stick to back roads, which, due to the rural nature of the area, can be poorly maintenanced and covered in snow (or, if they are dirt roads, mud!).

While running there and enjoying my quiet, scenic journey, though, I realized that I haven’t really found a “perfect” place to run. At school, there are a lot of sidewalks and it is pedestrian friendly (lots of traffic circles and bike lanes and such to make traffic flow smoothly), but I hate the scenery – I just run through one cookie cutter neighborhood after another. At the house I technically live at with my husband (but am almost never at) there is a wonderful biking/running/whatever trail that goes along a river that cuts through the city. The river and its associated wildlife are nice, and it is always lovely to encounter other joggers and see cute dogs and babies, but sometimes, especially when the weather is nice for the first time in a long time, that park is really crowded. It is also right next to one of the busiest streets in the city so I’m constantly on the lookout for rogue luxury SUVs full of suburbites, as one of the ones zooming past me will inevitably wreck into the park someday. Maybe I’m just too picky – everything is too boring, too muddy, too noisy or too scary (treadmills are also too boring and scary).

In other news, I think I’m going to try to start the New Rules of Lifting for Women today. I’m a little nervous – I don’t know much about gyms so I’m afraid they won’t have the equipment I need (a step and an exercise ball) or that I’ll feel silly and freak out and leave. I’m at least going to venture into the free weight area today, though, and take stock of what is going on. My plan is to work out stage 1 of this for about 6 weeks while starting a 12 week half-marathon training program. There is a half in about 13 weeks near where my husband and I live and by then I’ll be home with him, so I’m hoping I can achieve one of my major goals for the year then (run a half). In the meantime, I’m trying to find a couple 5Ks to get in practice for racing – there are a ton, but always at inconvenient times for me. For example, there is one in my hometown that I would really like to participate in not only because I want to try out racing but because the cause is close to my heart (would benefit a cancer center where a relative who recently passed was treated), but it is on the same day as an important conference in Chicago (Chicago is nowhere near my hometown) and I have a take home final exam that weekend. Not going to happen, but hopefully I find something soon – it would be pretty intimidating to have my first race be a half, I think!

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