As they say, “it is time”. It had been entirely too long since I had run (or engaged in any type of exercise regime) on a regular basis. All my running buddies were logging “best times” or PR’s on their Facebook sites from events over the fall. To be honest, I was a bit jealous. I had two choices – 1. Become sedentary, eat chocolate and deep-fried yumminess for the rest of my days, or 2. Start running again, adding in some cross-training to keep it interesting and fuel my body with healthy whole foods. The first option was tempting. But if you have been reading my twitter (@eabpic) or this blog you know that I would need to do some sort of exercise. Let’s face it, I am going to eat the chocolate and deep-fried yumminess anyway. I suited up.
The day was promising. A light snowfall overnight was starting to melt in the late morning sun. As an aside, I usually like to run early in the morning, but since hearing stories of coyotes and cougars in these parts, I have decided that midday is the safer option. The kids were at school. JB was at work. My Garmin had been charging on the kitchen desk for about a week. It was beckoning me to use it, to track mileage and pace and elevation that I could load into a handy spreadsheet detailing my exercise. I eyed up my running gear. Base layer? Check. T-shirt? Check. Running tights and socks? Check. IPod? Where is my iPod? Maybe I shouldn’t go. No tunes? I had a brief argument in my head and decided to look for the iPod later. It will be better for me to be keenly aware of my surroundings, anyway. Hat? Check. Sunglasses? Oh no, another roadblock. Never mind, I thought, I will start another day. Another argument in my head ensued. I decided that since I am half-dressed already I might as well get this inaugural Calgary run over with. I laced up my shoes and headed outside.
It was a brisk day. The sun was shining and there were a few puffy clouds off over the mountains. Most of the snow had melted in the sun and after a couple of deep breaths, (and the Garmin figuring out where I am), I headed out. Since I have not been running much I decided to walk this first time out. But after about a third of a mile, I simply couldn’t help myself. I had to run. It was such a beautiful day; my legs were begging to go faster. I am an impatient person and who knows how long these three-ish miles will take? I ran through the neighborhood on a course I mapped out the previous day, though not exactly sure where I was going. A few observations – first, everyone that I passed said “good morning”, (nice). Second, although almost everyone out seemed to be walking a dog, there is no dog poop anywhere, (refreshing). Third, the cold, crisp air coming into my lungs was invigorating. I started to think about writing this blog post. Fourth, cars stopped for me. I didn’t have to stop at any intersection because the cars all waved me through, (very nice).
I encountered many small creatures through the run. The magpies seemed to be mocking me a bit, pointing out that I am panting a little harder than usual due to my hiatus from regular exercise. Other little things scurry through the grass. I started thinking about coyotes again and think it is no wonder they are around, as there seems to be a buffet of meal options. There is something highly personal about running through your neighborhood. You notice things about others’ property, where construction is going on, who has pets and what type. I passed parts of our neighborhood and was surprised to see a sign announcing the construction of a new school and new condos nearby. There are many more playgrounds in the area that you can’t see from the road, due to the hilly topography.
Okay, the sidewalk ended and path through to somewhere started. I continued on the path and encountered a half-frozen over pond and large, gorgeous homes. The path winds around to another street and I realized that I don’t know where I am. I mean, I THINK I know where I am, but had not anticipated going on to a path. What to do? I was a little over two miles from home and had little choice but to press forward. The path fed on to a street and I feared that I may be a little lost. Is my next street Royal Birch Blvd? Or Royal Birch Grove? Or Royal Birch Meadows? Or Royal Oak something or other? They all have such similar names. I was pretty sure I was lost, but I had gone too far to turn back, if I could even find that path again anyway. I saw a street name that I recognized, and as I turned the corner, I was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Canadian Rockies shooting up into the sky. They are snow-capped and jagged and begging me to continue this run so that I am ready to ski (like a madwoman) this winter.
I continued west, passed a Mormon house of worship under construction, and think about the upcoming US Presidential elections. How am I going to get an absentee ballot? I will be damned if I don’t get to vote and some numb-nut gets elected. I don’t have room in my house for all my friends that have said they are coming to Canada if certain candidates get elected. Mental note – get a ballot. Continuing on, I saw the street that I was hoping to find almost two miles ago and turned toward home. A very satisfying run. My time was not terrible, I did not get eaten by a coyote and I know a great route for the future.