It’s not always fun to run. The shortness of breath, the stitch in your side, the why am I out here?
And then the elated feeling of accomplishment; the ecstasy of the after-run high.
This from someone who once hated running. Why would I go out for a run when I can go out to the bar…
Now I do both.
And as the trees begin to bud and the weather warms to a perfect 60 degrees, getting outside to run is a must.
Lake Phalen is nice for a run, and conveniently is a perfect 5k. And there’s nothing wrong with running around Lake Como, with its majestic pavilion and quaint neighborhood charm. Or along the Mississippi River: start downtown and try and make it to Crosby Farm Park.
But whether you’re in serious training or just a casual jogger, trying to impress a girl or trying to get back in shape after letting yourself get soft, there is something about St. Paul’s historic and arguably most beautiful avenue that makes it perfect for a run.
Maybe it’s the soaring mansions that sit regal and haunting as they watch over the street. Maybe it’s the sunrise that cuts so bright through stained glass windows and over the peaked gables of olden luxury. Or the equally stunning sunset that turns the sky darker and darker for evening runners.
Maybe it’s the ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald that hangs over the area. I can feel him on my shoulder telling me not to punk out and give up, “Would Jay Gatsby give up?”
Fitzgerald moved back to St. Paul after Zelda dumped him. Then he wrote This Side of Paradise and won her back. He didn’t give up. So no. Don’t give up. Run a little further. Much love, F. Scott.
Summit has over four miles of running time. You can go further if you head past the magnificent Cathedral of St. Paul and toward the Capitol. Right through the heart of the city.
There is a calm in this. One that every St. Paulite should experience. A chance to disappear into your surroundings, getting lost in your running mix with all songs at the ideal BPM and the whole world reduced simply to the path in front of you.
It will be winter again soon enough. The cold keeps us most days on treadmills inside looking out, wondering, why don’t I just move to California where I can run outside all day, every day?
(And some people prefer treadmills. And that’s cool too.)
But finding a place that, no matter what will put you far away from the worries, the anxieties, the simple pet peeves and frustrations that have plagued you throughout the day, where you can get that sense of pride when you run just a little further than you ever have before, and then to be able to go home drunk on adrenaline, and feel like today, yes, today, you did something and did it well.
Magical things happen when you push yourself beyond your (perceived) limits.
Whether running more (or at all) was one of your 2017 resolutions or will be someday, or if you’re one to say “screw resolutions I don’t believe in that” but maybe want to start running, do it. Why not?
When I was younger, it was always a dream to own a house on Summit. They looked like castles, and still do. Maybe it will happen someday, maybe it won’t. I don’t care as much anymore. The street is mine. Forget about the expectations and pressures and heartaches of the rest of the world, if only until the end of the next block. Run and keep running.