Green Trees and Grass and Blue Skies Dotted with Puffy Clouds at Druid Hill Park

Picture of green trees and grass with a blue sky dotted with white clouds as the background.

School is back in session which means less time to bike around aimlessly, but also more time to multimodally commute. Both are great, but I already miss the first. That said, one of the glories of being an academic and off the tenure track is that sometimes I have a Thursday morning that is just me reading whatever I want to read, riding my bike to therapy, and then riding around Druid Hill Park afterwards. And yesterday was one of those Thursdays.

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Cloudy Skies Over the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park

Fence in the foreground, green trees behind it, and then mostly just a big old cloudy sky.

I didn’t feel like going for a bike ride on Sunday, but I knew I’d feel better in my body and mind if I did, so I did. I also couldn’t let a rare day below a zillion degrees go to waste. The heat is literally deadly for so many, and it’s figuratively deadly for me. At the end of a long bike ride on a normal July day in Baltimore leaves me feeling like somebody just sucked out my soul. A million percent worth it, but a day in the 70s? Thank you!

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Safety City in Druid Hill Park

Sunday was my long run, and I was so grateful for the drop in humidity from Saturday. I put in my head that I’d go five miles, but would check in at three and see if my body wanted to keep going. It was only 70 degrees, but when there’s no shade, it gets hot fast. I loaded up both water pouches, put on my running vest, and headed out.

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No Racist Police Sign on the Pedestrian Bridge to Druid Hill Park

No Racist Police Sign on the Pedestrian Bridge to Druid Hill Park

I went for a run on Sunday. I had 8 miles on my calendar, but it was hot and sunny, my legs were heavy, and I kept having to stop and walk to keep my heart rate under control. Three miles in and I was calling my sister for permission to stop running, turn around, and walk home. I bailed on my run. Running is a mental game, and bailing felt like a betrayal of the mental work I’ve put into running over the past year, but my body didn’t care what my training plan wanted. It needed to walk. So I did, but even then I started running again a few times on the way home. I thought I’d start running again and it’d feel good, but instead I just had to make the decision to bail a couple more times as I had to stop and walk.

I can be kind of intense about my hobbies.

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Empty Swimming Pool at Druid Hill Park

Empty Swimming Pool at Druid Hill Park

I went for a run this mid-morning, like I do most Fridays mid-morning. Today I ran with Ahmaud Arbery on my mind. He was killed on February 23, 2020, hunted down by two white men and shot while out for a jog. I go out for a jog all the time. One of the things I like about jogging is that it’s so simple. I put on my shoes, head out the door, and just go. It’s so simple.

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Surveillance Camera at the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park

Surveillance Camera at the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park

So, this is a post about what I saw running yesterday, not what I saw on my bicycle. I am training for a half marathon that I will run by myself in seven weeks, and Thursday was my mid-week short run, four and a half miles. I can’t believe that counts as a short run to me, especially because it takes so long for me to complete. I’m a slow poke–speed comes with time, and I’m giving it time. That said, I’m faster and I recover more quickly from a run than I ever thought possible. Consistent effort over time, as my father would say. Makes all the difference.

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Empty Lot Along Druid Hill Park Lake Drive

Empty Lot Along Druid Hill Park Lake Drive

It’s Saturday, and it feels like I’m in the slow beginning of a disaster movie, where the characters are all going about their daily business with no idea what’s ahead. Except we know what’s ahead. We see what has happened in China, Korea, Italy, Iran, France, Spain, and, like, Seattle. We see what is happening here as the case count ticks up. Schools are closed, workers are told to work at home, the Department of Defense has banned even domestic travel. The writing is on the wall, and yet.

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The Big Jump at Druid Park Lake Drive & Linwood

20180729_170313 I haven’t been riding my bicycle much for the past two weeks, partly due to being out of town and partly due to having sole possession of a car for a whole entire week. I learned a lot that week–namely that you can go much farther much faster in a car, and it’s amazing how quickly I’ll take the easy way out, even if that means paying a few bucks for parking. Good thing I mostly don’t have a car, because I’d rather ride a bike, even if I forgot that for a few days.

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View On the Jones Falls Trail Behind Druid Hill Park

View On the Jones Falls Trail Behind Druid Hill ParkIt’s been all wedding, work, and post-election hellscape, so I was happy for the confluence of a day off work and died-down winds to just spin my wheels a bit and clear my head. I started the ride heading up to Roland Park for an appointment with L., my magical acupuncturist. We talked about my sleep, my lower back, and the surprising resilience that you discover in yourself 11 months after your dad dies. An hour later I was back on my bike, treating myself to a late breakfast out, and then riding over to the park to get a break from my daily riding with cars. I wanted to just spin without that alertness that’s so normal, and so exhausting.

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