Tomorrow marks one full week of living the small-town life here in the Lehigh Valley. There are some total perks, like living a mile from work—not driving my car for days makes me one happy lady. And the trees, oh my gosh. I love running down Main Street (of course there is a Main Street) and looking into the distance at the densely layered forest on South Mountain. It’s a picture-perfect backdrop, that’s for sure. There’s even one craft brewery in town (below), which kind of, sort of, almost dulls the culture shock for this former Milwaukeean.
Another thing that’s pretty great is having a gate pass to the local high school’s track. I’ve always felt creepy sneaking onto nearby school tracks for interval workouts, so usually I go by the distance on my Garmin and hit the sidewalks instead, looking like a mad woman when I’m at full speed, but this week I hit the cushy track—and it was awesome. Well, minus the humid, 90-degree weather and the fact that I felt like death. This workout kicked my butt more than it should have: 2-mile warmup, 3×400 at 1:50 pace (w/ 200 recovery), 3×800 at 3:42 pace (w/ 400 recovery), 1×400 at 1:50 (w/ 200 recovery), 2-mile cooldown.
While my new home is quaint and charming and all that, let me get real and tell you some disadvantages in terms of my new running life. The main drag of “downtown” is adorable, but it’s short. Otherwise there are just streets of suburban houses lined neatly in rows, and I’ve never been a fan of residential routes. I’m definitely going to miss being able to step out my apartment door in Milwaukee and find a pretty loop any which way I run. Finding routes for my long Sunday runs during marathon training will be challenging as a newbie to the area, but I’ve heard the Lehigh Canal Towpath is a great option. (Just gotta drive my car to it, sigh.)
Otherwise, no complaints here. Everyone that I’ve met so far has been incredibly welcoming to me as a newcomer, so I haven’t even had time to feel lonely yet. Even my long-journeying cat friend has settled in quite nicely (after one traumatic night spent in the same house as my parents’ dog, the first he’s encountered). We should all really aspire to this level of chillness.
YOUR TURN: How do you get creative with your running routes? Do you live in a suburb or small town?