Friday, February 22, 2013

Loving Pre-Dawn Urban Running

Starting my fantastic new job two weeks ago has inspired me to get back into a routine with my day to day life, something that just hasn't been possible in recent years due to relentless and unpredictable work days. The last time I was able to have any sort of routine with running, fitness, diet, household responsibilities,  and maintaining my personal relationships with family and Friends was about 7 years ago when I stopped working regular hours in a hospital setting. I am very happy to be working a regular schedule again with a real start and finish to each day's work!

I thought it might be difficult adjusting to early morning runs through the streets of Portland. I imagined I would have to gradually ease into the routine, getting used to earlier awakenings, adjusting my meal times accordingly, adjusting to the bitter early morning cold and darkness, re-learning to navigate the streets of Portland, and slowly building my mileage back up from the pathetic level it had slipped to. But instead it has been incredible easy. I haven't missed a single morning yet! The only glitch was that my workplace has no shower facilities. I must have asked the building administrator six times, "are you sure there isn't a shower somewhere in this building?"  I ended up joining the closest cheapest dirtiest smelliest gym around and can now shower before work for only ten bucks a month. I guess I can live with that.

I don't run the same route each morning because I like variety. I've been parking in the gym's lot and running 40-50 minutes each morning on roads, sidewalks, and paved and dirt exercise paths. I often run right through what are normally the busiest streets of the Old Port, but I am early enough that I see very little traffic. I often run the paved path from the ferry terminal, timing it so I can watch the sunrise over Portland Harbor. I've also hit the Deering neighborhoods, Back Bay, Stroudwater, Eastern and Western Proms ...there is so much to see. Once the ice melts I will get out onto  dirt single track trails. There isn't much of that in Portland, but enough to get me off the streets a little.

There will come a point in the future when I will be able to work from home (but its going to take a while before I'm confident enough in my new role to fly solo) and when that time comes I will be very happy to get back to my country roads and trails. For now, urban road running is fine. I still get my woods runs in on the weekends, often in Vermont. I feel very fortunate to have so much control over my day to day life. I can plan ahead and commit. Holy Hell, I even have a few dates set to meet friends for runs before and after work next week! Life is good.

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