I went on an exploration run today. It's been hard to get started. I'm all alone in a new place. I get kind of intimidated and overwhelmed. I know it's silly. I'm afraid I'll go out, and some police guy/authority figure will yell, "Hey! You can't run here!" Isn't that weird?
Knowing my fears were ridiculous, I strapped on my running shoes and headed south of the apartment. I explored the community park behind the apartment. It has a 1/2 mile paved path around the perimeter, filled with soccer fields, baseball fields, playgrounds, a par fitness course, picnic tables, basketball courts, and a volleyball court (with sand). Very impressive. I continued south towards the canyon I had discovered a few weeks ago. Paths stretched both east and west. Multilevel trails zig-zagged all the way down to the bottom, where railroad tracks stretched endlessly in both directions. More paths zig-zagged up the the top of the other side of the canyon on the other side. Every now and then, a path would exit the canyon into a new, undiscovered neighborhood. My options were limitless.
Remembering that the canyon "ran out" to the east, I chose the shorter route, too overwhelmed to try the western route. Some paths were flat, some hilly. I couldn't believe my luck. It was so nice to escape the hard pavement and treat my feet to the soft, packed dirt. I reached a bridge, leading up to a road on the other side, one that I recognized from driving around the other day. The trail did not run out, but I decided to turn back, on the other side of the canyon. As I neared the point of entry, I realized running on the opposite side may have been a mistake. Trotting back and forth, I found a narrow path where the grass had been flattened, and followed it to the valley below. It led into a dry creek, completely surrounded by brush. I crouched and listened to my heart pound. It was an adventure. I was excited and on edge. I felt completely hidden. I burst out of the creek bed and made my way up the steep bank, trotting towards the railroad tracks. I was very cautious, eyeing the signs that read, "Danger. Keep out." I felt very exposed as the brush fell away. I approached the tracks timidly, listening, looking. Seeing nothing. Hearing nothing. I darted across the tracks and bounded up the trail to the other side. I felt like a wild deer.
I ended up going much farther than I had intended but it was so energizing and exciting. I can't wait to go back. I'm settling in somewhat. Finally. I feel like there's extra time on my hands to enjoy myself. Not like I normally do, when I'm overwhelmed with things to do. Work starts on Monday. I'm relishing my final days of freedom and trying not to think about how nervous I am about starting my postdoc.