“Sightseeing” around the neighborhood
My self-created training plan said “4 miles at the crack of dawn” today, and the wind that has been blasting for the past two days finally relented, so I got up well before sunrise and went out the front door. It was light enough for me to see just fine, but as a precaution I put on my reflective vest and stayed on the quieter streets in my immediate neighborhood. The sun rose about 15 minutes into my 45 minute run, although I did not actually see it until 30 minutes in.
The houses here are more modest but still mid-century interesting. Over the past two winters here I’ve found a variety of shorter and longer loops through the neighborhood so that I can vary my routes from day to day according to how far I want to run and how unpredictable I want to be to anyone who might be paying attention. The biggest challenge with running loops is figuring out which way to turn when, so that I arrive back at the condo as close as possible to my planned mileage for the day. I did that rather well today, logging 4.07 miles.
There were no gardening crews out today (although I do see them frequently in this neighborhood), but I did see two people walking dogs and one older gentleman moving right along on a bicycle. I was looking for the roadrunner that hangs out at one of two adjacent houses with especially nice desert landscaping, but he was a no-show today. I did see and hear several ravens, a bird I’ve always especially enjoyed, so it was a good morning’s wildlife viewing. When I got back, only a little later than usual for work, I ate my fresh-picked grapefruit and felt healthy and reasonably happy. Running is good for me. Too bad my knees won’t let me do it every day.
It’s been interesting to get to know the neighborhood and watch it change. As a resort/seasonal destination, this area was hit hard by the real estate collapse. Some houses look more rundown now than they did two years ago, while others have been bought and restored or updated nicely. Overall I think the neighborhood has improved, but it could be my perception of it that has changed as I’ve become more comfortable with it.
The view from my running feet is so different from what I see from a car. I doubt I would have noticed the recurring roadrunner appearances if I were driving that particular street several times a week. I might have seen the ravens but I wouldn’t have heard them. I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to the gardening crews, or to the people who get off buses from outlying towns to walk or ride their bikes to their jobs as housekeepers and bus boys. All of that is hidden from the tourist’s view of the retro-chic downtown. So while I love running through the more affluent neighborhoods past world-famous houses, I’ve also come to appreciate my immediate neighborhood because it shows this city as an authentic whole, as a real place where people live and work and accidentally create roadrunner habitat. I rather like seeing it that way.