It turns out I was completely spoiled by starting my running career in my quiet suburban hometown. Endless residential streets connected by miles of flat road all around my neighborhood. I could run to the beach and back without so much as a 10 foot change in elevation. Not that I ever did that, but I could have if I wanted to. When I moved to Michigan it was much the same until I moved into my first single family house on a sweet little street near Michigan Stadium. It was awesome, except that we lived at the bottom of a fairly steep hill and unless I wanted to run on main street (which I often did) my run began with a climb.
When we moved to North Carolina it was more of the hilly same. Our first house was on a very busy road smack in the middle of a significant hill, so you had to either begin or end your run with a serious climb, way more serious than Michigan’s climb. Plus I just didn’t dig being on the busy street. We just didn’t have a lot of options for good runs that started at home and it sucked some of the motivation out of me. Then the summer of 2013 we moved into the house we’re in now and the street is perfect. It’s a circle with no outlet, but two little dead end roads extending off of it. It’s a nice mix of college students, young couples, and old couples – few, if any, children. If I run the circle plus the two side streets, it’s one mile. So I have done several loops of that to make a three miler and that’s okay by me. It also opens onto a very busy road with a moderate incline to all the other neighborhoods, but nothing as steep as we’ve had before. There’s no excuse for me to not walk the dogs around the peaceful street. And it clearly used to be woodlands, so there are still tons of trees that provide both privacy and homes for wildlife.
On top of this, I now commute about 8 minutes to my job, compared to my previous 50 minute commute. It leaves more time for working out, preparing meals, and generally de-stressing after work. It’s ideal for someone in my situation, who needs all the help she can get to make this fitness thing happen. We have a great backyard (minus the crazy mosquitoes in the summer), lovely neighbors, and did I mention it’s absolutely gorgeous in the fall?