After many years of barefoot running, I’ve never used running as a transit system. My runs have been loops or out and backs. Today was different. Instead of hopping on Trimet to get from PSU to Gresham City Hall, I decided to run the 13 plus miles with my own two feet. Why not? It was a beautiful day, I got off a 5PM, and I brought my hydration pack,and my running clothes.
The run didn’t go as well as I expected. I took a wrong turn and added a mile. Most of the run was on the very busy thoroughfare that is Division St. The sun blazed over the exposed, cracked sidewalks which shimmered with heat fumes; black smoke piped out the noisy cars practically choking out my breathe; the route was exhausting and monotonous and since I ran against traffic, I constantly felt watched.
But it was also rewarding. I got see “gentlemen” entering the Pitiful Princess Strip Club, which neighbors a sketchy trailer park called “Golden Estates”. Just before I passed the Pitiful Princess, two jumpy tweakers tried to block my path under 205. They wanted money. But so did I, so I plowed my way through without much thought.
Aside from certifying that there are some sleazy sections of Southeast Portland, I also learned a few lessons from my run. First, running long distance from one place to another seems to be psychologically more difficult than running an out and back or laps*. When I run an out and back, I know I’m half way done when I hit the turn around, and that always lifts my spirits, especially on longer runs. But with a destination run, the half way point feels more like a punch in the guts. The long road ahead doesn’t let your brain turn around. The street just seems to go on and on. I also learned that it’s better to leave your work clothes in a locker than to stuff them into your hydration pack. My clothes bobbed up and down more than one of the Pitiful Princesses’s heads in back seat of a red Cadillac behind the strip club. The straps chaffed my neck. Also, the combined weight of the clothes and water felt like a jack hammer on my lower back.
I’ll probably run home from work again a few more times while the weather is nice and the sun is still up. Even though I had a challenging run this time around, it was nice to take a ride on the world oldest transit system, even if it did take me on tour of world’s oldest profession.
*Maybe that’s just because I’m not familiar with the route. Unfamiliar routes always seem longer.