I skipped my a.m. run yesterday and practiced yoga. This helped clear my mind; and yes, I felt peaceful. Yoga has multiple benefits.
Anyways, since I missed my mandatory long run, I decided to walk to work. I figured it would be six to seven miles. Piece of cake and there was always the option of jumping on the light rail as a back up plan. The light rail ends about a mile and a half from work and so I would be able to extend my mileage on the end of the route. I begin, armed with a 32 ounce bottle of water, a change of clothes (thank god) and my ipod.
The initial part of the walk is lovely as it is near the campus and there are many other people walking around. Great energy/vibe of other pedestrians, cyclists and kids on skate boards. The weather, well, a little warmer than I had anticipated. Still, I was enjoying it. I saw sorority girls struggling to wear heels or wedges across campus. There was a car wash on the corner with scantily clad coeds advertising their service. Seriously, the could use a little less exposure is all I am saying.
I continue and about a half mile later the vibe changes. Definitely not as many college kids and suddenly it feels a little ominous. I remember having those exact same feelings, years ago, when I walked around this area of town. It's been cleaned up (tremendously) with the addition of the light rail. It had to be. They knocked down some of the RV Parks and hotels that were filled with transients and junkies. On the surface, yes, it appears to be cleaner. Yet, it feels dirty if that makes sense.
As I continue east, I encounter less and less college students and more single men walking. I begin to notice that I am getting more attention. This one guy in a truck pulls up next to me and asks if I need a ride. I ignore him and he continues driving through the parking lot parallel to me and waits to see if I respond. I don't. I continue walking.
The honking starts and that is when I know I still have it. Or, that they think I am a "professional". You know, the street kind. I see a few of those ladies too. I am left alone outside of being stared at from vehicles, RV parks and side walks. I didn't feel threatened. I made it to work unscathed with a bump for the ego. Several cars noticed me is all I am saying.
About an hour in, I locate a Walgreen's and choose to enter the store. The water was not doing it. I needed a gatorade. It tasted divine. At this point I was in a "safer" part of the east valley. It no longer felt ominous or eerie. It felt mormon and it was. I saw some uniformed kids on bikes hoping to convert people and a garage sale on a random corner. This guy waited til I passed him and then started talking to me. He said, wow, hot day. I continued walking and he did offer me a water since I looked hot. I declined since I already had gatorade.
I walk into work and head directly to the walk in cooler. I stand in there a few minutes and consider what items I have with me to aid me in the cooler down factor. Grateful for the top and bra that I remembered to bring. I change, splash water on my face and then notice the salt on my face. Yes, it was hot and I had lost some electrolytes. Salty. Reminded me that I had skipped my mandatory run.
I wish I had a shower, too. Cold water and fresh clothes helped, but I still felt warm. I dreamed of my shower for the rest of the night.
I was retelling my adventure through the hood and mentioning the catcall factor when a few customers said--do you have mace...you should really carry it. You know you walked through an unsavory area.
My feelings are this--yes, it is unsavory and I walked during the day. I didn't feel scared. It was an adventure. Granted, I had no interest in walking back to the light rail at night. I arranged for one of my co-workers to drive me back to either the light rail or Tempe. I am naive to a certain degree but unwilling to put myself at risk knowingly. Walking at night seemed foolish.
The first thing I did when I got home was shower. Glorious. Wash away the salt build up and discovered the spots I had missed applying sunblock. Awesome, I have a sunburn....guess I got that too.