All Summer long (for the most part) I have been avoiding running over bridges. The kind that are our hills here in Houston. I mean I go over them, but I dont run over them. Every single time there have been hills in our routes on Saturdays its been a freaking long ass run, and I would save that energy for the miles I had ahead of me, not for making it to the top of a damn hill. The only time this was not the case was along the bayou. I still ran those but those are small in comparison as far as steepness and very short.
Chicago is flat, and I just didn't do any hill workouts except for maybe 10 or so over at Hermann Park.
From my new house to I-10 it is 2 miles exactly. However to get there one must go up and over the TCJester bridge which I hate with a passion. Its worse one way than the other as one way up it, it is a bit steeper, the other side is longer with a slower incline.
Guess which one I hate worse? Anyone that knows me or has been reading for a long time should know this answer.
So the mornings I have ran the past week, I have run exactly to the base of the bridge, then turn around head towards the bike path and then head West back through some neighborhoods.
Besides on the other side of that bridge is got some sketchy little side streets for a girl all alone in the dark. And I see shadows that make me jump sometimes thinking someone is running up behind me. I hate street lights sometimes for that!
Yesterday morning when I got to the base of that bridge, I thought "eh, just run up it to the top and you can then turn around".
So I put on my big girl panties and moved my legs and pumped my arms until I got to the top at a relatively fast pace.
Then I did exactly what I said I could do, and I turned around and headed back in the same direction I had come from. Back to where I felt comfortable.
But I thought to myself, that didn't suck. Of course like I said, its a short mileage day.
So this morning, I was out the door again by 5am and headed for that bridge yet again. I got to the bottom, ran to the top and stopped. On the way up I had actually had a girl and her big ass dog cross paths and I was like well she came from the other side...
And then at the top, I could see a guy coming up the other side, and so off I went...into the darkness, down the slope and near the 'scary' streets where dogs bark at you as they are guarding whatever it is behind those gates...
I ran to I-10 then turned back around and then I had to go back over the bridge again but this time I knew once I got to the other side, I would be back on familiar ground ...
So the past 2 mornings I've had a bit of the TCJester bridge for breakfast and it hasn't been bad at all. I'm running 4-5 miles each morning before work so a little bridge thrown in there doesn't make a damn bit of difference at this point.
Besides its kinda cool being up at the top of it with the rail yard below you and you can see the light just beginning to break the horizon just past downtown. Its actually quite pretty in some odd sort of way.
As scared as I might get sometimes early morning, running in the darkness is one of my favorite things to do. Its like the rest of the world is sleeping or at least still in their pj's wishing they were still sleeping. Gives me a sense of accomplishment for my day before its even really started.
Do you like morning (dark) running? Why? Or is it just too creepy for you? I figure if someone is going to get me they are going to get me no matter what time of day it is! :O)