“Oh my God, I didn’t tell anyone where I was going!” I thought to myself. More than once during my excursion…
It’s a pretty important rule for runners and hikers and I blew it off.
Aside from the worn down cracked pavement and cement barriers blocking the winding roads, Ruby Hill Park seemed pretty nice. Lots of freshly mowed green fields, a baseball diamond and updated playground. There was even a monstrous grass-covered hill – the exact feature that lured me there for my 45 minute run (with hills….so said my marathon training schedule.)
Such a great view from atop Ruby Hill! You can see the whole city. But still, not more than a handful of people in sight? How could this be? The outdoor pool area seemed to be closed, and at 5:00 p.m. on a Wednesday, there were no children playing in the playground. There was only a teenage couple sitting on top of the slide, glaring at me, as if they were wondering why I thought it would be such a good idea to choose that particular place to spend an entire 45 minutes, by myself.
I slowly began to realize that Ruby Hill Park was no Wash Park (my neighborhood meat market and haven for many a dog and jogger). In fact, it was a pretty shady park, and I don’t mean “shelter from the sun.”
My opinion of the park and the surrounding area hadn’t solidified until my dog Tucker and I decided to venture out of the park and run along the side of a few streets and enter the park again at the opposite entrance. I won’t go into detail, but I actually heard a shoeless little boy who was playing in his fenced-in front yard with his brother say, “Wow, look! A DOG! He’s RUNNING!” Apparently dogs don’t leave their yards too often in that neighborhood…and for good reason!
I was grateful for the major incline as I made my way up the road so I could get some hill work in, but more importantly, I was more grateful that many cars were passing us and we weren’t prancing through the park, mostly alone, with no cell phone. What was I thinking? WHY didn’t I do a bit more research before I hopped into the car with the dog to run 5 miles up and down hills in a strange neighborhood?
At one point during our run, I tripped over an ancient speed bump and nearly face planted (The yellow paint was almost completely worn off. That’s my lame excuse for being so clumsy!) I think I must have let out a loud “AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!” (I’m good at that…) but somehow I was able to catch myself pre-road rash. I just kept running, happy to be in one piece. Tucker immediately licked my hand that was holding his leash – I think he knew that I was glad not to have to slowly limp back to the car….
I realize that it’s possible that I am overreacting, and making a mountain out of a molehill for the sake of a good story. But I’m from Chicago, where remarkably enough, there are major distinct boundaries between one trendy neighborhood and another. Basically, just try not to go west of Western. It’s pretty easy to remember… And obviously I haven’t learned the difference between an okey dokey neighborhood and a somewhat shady spot here in Denver yet, and I do anticipate a few more situations like this though, before I really learn my lesson. I know myself all too well!
But for what it’s worth, today I purchased a running water bottle with a nylon zippered holder for my keys and identification. I never really should have been running without identification anyway…
And I already have plans to run on Tuesdays with my friend Natasha at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Great view of the city. Trendy area. Awesome big red rocks. But most importantly, a safer area for a hill workout!
So if you don’t hear from my after next Tuesday, please call a representative from Red Rocks. There. I told someone. I’m making progress already!