Urban Runner*

Urban Runner*

I use to hate running. As a pre-teen I ran track for several years and hated every step of it. I was slow. I never won anything. And it hurt — my lungs, my muscles and my legs (I was prone to shin splints). And I even attended high school in Portland, Oregon, home to many of the best runners in the US. Later in life I lived in San Francisco where running is the hobby of choice, next to wine-tasting. I shunned the activity even more. Proudly declaring I was a non-runner, I took up swimming instead.

Then came Mexico. And as always, change.  One day a couple of years ago I had the crazy idea to go running with our household dog, a happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever. I ended up enjoying it, for the first time in my life. Perhaps because it was so uncommon in Mexico, and secretly I love going against the grain. After a brief hiatus in Asia, I found myself back in Mexico, full of too many tacos and tequila, and too cheap to sign up for a gym, so I decided to pick-up running again. I started slow, with a “personal trainer” housemate of mine, then got really into it in the past couple months. And now, I am proud to say, I am a runner! (Though still not as hard-core as my friend Tiffany, who is and always has been a true urban runner. You go girl!)

Nena, my running partner

Nena, my running partner

Ten reasons why I love running:
10. Sunshine and wind on my face
9. Endorphins (that delightfully happy feeling that just seems to come out of the air I’m rapidly inhaling, smog and all!)
8. New sights and sounds of the city – Mexico City is never the same two days in a row
7. Moving to music … while I might actually prefer dancing, at least I can swing my hips and move my legs to the beat!
6. Speed. Getting there faster. (like a 5-year-old’s obsession with super speedy super heroes)
5. Quality time with Nena, my Golden Retriever running partner. She pulls me along when I’m tired and looks up at me with a big smile while I stretch.
4. It’s free. There aren’t too many great things that are free anymore.
3. Alone time. Just me and my rapidly beating heart.
2. Discovering new shops or restaurants or sights in the city.
1. Losing weight! Honestly, I have yet to see this actually happen. So rather, it is the hope that someday I might actually lose weight as a result of running. I suppose strengthening, toning, tightening and just getting in shape are valid reasons, too.

And 5 things that frustrate me about running in Mexico:
1. Feeling tired and having to push myself
2. I’m apparently the only one running on the streets of Mexico
3. Sweat
4. Mexicans that walk slow and take up the entire sidewalk, sauntering along munching and talking
5. Dangerous sidewalks… this was just a non-bold point until a couple weeks ago, when one of these precisely precarious sidewalks literally jumped up and tripped me, causing me to take a hard-core crash with the cement, bashing my knee and bloodying my hand and leg. It sucked. Needless to say I didn’t run for another week, let alone could barely walk for a few days afterward due to the swelling. But don’t worry, I am better now. Thanks for your concern.

* Despite the similar appearance, I have to admit that this is not me. You can tell because the skyline is not Mexico, and my hair is more blonde. Other than that, it’s pretty difficult to distinguish the difference between this runner and myself.

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