Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Pros and cons of running with Uncle Sam

Since I have moved to the United States in search of work I have reflected on a few occasions on the pros and cons of running in my new hometown of Baltimore Maryland.


1. New town and potential routes to explore brining a much needed rejuvenation of motivation.
2. Lack of dogshit; yes, that's right, people here actually clean up after their animals and bring plastic bags with them to collect their beloved pet's deposits. Ireland and particularly Dubliners could learn from this!
3. Responsible dog owners. Dog owners here actually walk their dogs on a leash and will actually restrain the dog when it gets in your way or attempts to savage you! This was illustrated twice in the four weeks I have been here when a dog did indeed attempt to savage me! Meanwhile in Ireland dogs would roam free and the owner would barely acknowledge the consequences of not restraining their pet while it attempted to take a chunk from your calf!
4. Polite pedestrians. On many occasions in Dublin I would literally have to barge and push my way through pedestrians on footpaths who fail to acknowledge that maybe waking three or four abreast on a footpath and refusing to share the footpath is a little rude. Here however, they will momentarily slow down and step aside allowing you to pass, apologising for being in the way at all and let you pass.
5. Cyclists with brains. Rather like pedestrians, cyclists will observe the fundamentals of civilised behaviour and yield to pedestrians if they are on the footpath. Meanwhile in Dublin I at least once a week forced a cyclist off their bike on a footpath because I refused to tolerate their ignorance, eliciting more than a few verbal exchanges where I would tiresomely explain the etymological origin of FOOTpath and the differences between it and a cycle lane.
6. Drivers. Drivers here are certainly no angels and they seem especially fond of multi-tasking while they drive; their favourite extra-curricular activities while driving appear to be speaking on their phones and/or eating. However, I would say on the whole they are better than Dublin drivers; albeit not an especially challenging accomplishment. This however, is tempered by the knowledge that Maryland drivers were recently ranked amongst the worst drivers in the US.
7. Efficient washing machines. I am not expert on washing machines but they are far more economical here. To wash an entire load of stinky running gear I place the load in the washing machine for a ten minute cycle in cold/lukewarm water and hey presto it's done!

1. There is nothing even remotely approaching the Phoenix Park here in Baltimore. I was always conscious I was spoilt living within a mile of a park of the quality of Phoenix park and moving here has only confirmed that.
2. Baltimore is quite famous for its murder rate and crime, most famously depicted by The Wire and Homicide: life on the street. This became obvious to me when on one of my first runs I got a little lost at the end of the run and while I was only about a quarter of a mile from home was in a scene straight from The Wire! In short, there is little room for error when running in Baltimore and one wrong turn can take you somewhere a very white Irishman should never find himself; especially wearing clothes that make him look as intimidating as Napoleon Dynaminte!
3. The heat and humidity! Yesterday the temperature sensor topped at 104F/40C! What is even worse is the humidity and dewpoint. I now know more about the effects on humidity and dewpoint on running than I ever cared to know! The saturation of the air with moisture inhibiting sweat's ability to evaporate and maintain the body's temperature. This morning, even getting out before 7am, the four miles at half-marathon effort came out a little slower than marathon pace on the other side of the Atlantic.

On the whole I am enjoying running here and looking forward to getting back into full marathon training, which began with today's nine miles with four at half-marathon effort. I would have had some photos of the new hood to go with this post but I have not yet found my digital camera USB cord to transfer photos to the computer-one of the joys of moving, losing things in the packing/unpacking!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Yay for more pros than cons!