A lack of nearby gym facilities requires to me to run and hike frequently lest I suffer the consequences of the abundance of good food and drink here in Vermont.
I actually ran semi-regularly while we were living in NYC as well, alternating between the gym’s treadmills in the winter, and the West Side Highway as the weather improved. Mostly I stuck to distances of 3-4 miles, which was perfect in New York because that was about how far it was from my apartment to Battery Park where I typically just got lazy and rode the subway back home. Once in a while I’d change it up a bit and get out to Central Park for a “hilly” run and some different scenery.
I never thought much about the logistics of my runs until we got to Vermont where I immediately noticed some major differences.
- Clean air! No litter! Amazing.
- No stoplights, no pedestrian dodging. It was really irritating to try and keep a steady pace when it took me close to a mile just to get to the river, while at the same time trying to time the lights and maneuver around all the other people on the sidewalk. My other option was to run in the road and risk getting nailed by a car or a bike messenger. Here, it’s just me and the dirt road.
- Hills. I laugh at myself for thinking the Central Park loop was really hilly.
- Dogs. I am an animal lover but the damn dogs are going to be the death of me! Every single house I pass has dogs and as I go by they all come out to greet me…some more nicely than others. Generally they come storming out, snarling and growling until I coo at them “Nice puppy! Who’s a good boy?!?!” at which point 99% of them stop and start wagging their tails and I can go on my merry way. There’s one house, about 3/4 of a mile in, where I have to actually stop and pet the pit bulls or they continue to snarl and chase me. Another house I pass sometimes has a very friendly chocolate lab that likes to run with me. He’s followed me as far as a mile in some cases, his owners screaming after him to “Get back here!!” More often than not, the dogs are fenced in, or they won’t follow me much past their house. Once though, I was chased by a dog that I really thought might bite me despite my cooing at it. It was the first time a dog remained aggressive towards me even when I slowed and talked to it, and I wondered what the heck I’d do way out in the middle of nowhere if I really did get bit.