If you are interested in supporting my writing, please visit my Patreon page to find out how you can donate as little as $1 a month to help keep me afloat: patreon.com/kristenforbes.
1.) I love running.
2.) Sometimes I dread running.
4.) Running is my release.
6.) Running is monotonous.
7.) I can only run the same route so many times.
8.) If I didn't do something to shake up my running routine, I was going to burn out.
9.) Running to a different park in SE Portland every time I ran exposed me to new scenery.
10.) The park runs kept things interesting.
11.) Sometimes it got a little too interesting — like when my GPS led me down narrow, congested roads with no sidewalks that were clearly never intended for pedestrians and I had to abandon my park route for the day.
12.) The parks were always my halfway point, which broke my runs up nicely.
13.) The parks were a reprieve: I'd take a few minutes, walk around, and enjoy the scenery before finishing the second half of each run.
14.) A few times I worried that these little breaks might be negatively influencing my pacing or stamina, but then I realized how depressing it would be to make the trip to a park and not even take a few minutes to enjoy it.
15.) I thought of these adventures as mini reconnaissance missions: if I have a child someday, I want to know which parks have the best facilities and equipment.
16.) One thing became clear: most parks look the same.
17.) A few don't, though, and those are the ones I'll be sure to revisit.
18.) The most frustrating days were the ones when I either had to abandon my route because it seemed too dangerous or when I reached my "destination" to discover it wasn't a park at all.
19.) The weather created some frustrating days, too.
20.) Parks aren't as much fun in the rain.
21.) Sometimes, though, being alone in an empty park as rain poured down on me made me feel like some sort of badass adventurer.
25.) I only like routines, structure and rituals when they're a little different each time.
26.) What I love most about my park project is that it was simultaneously routine and varied.
27.) The runs themselves weren't always very scenic, often taking place alongside heavily congested roads.
28.) Reaching some of the parks was like reaching an oasis.
29.) I am very easily affected by Portland's cold, dark, rainy season and often spend most of winter hibernating.
30.) My park project kept me outside during the coldest, darkest, rainiest days this season.
31.) I've read many studies that attribute exercising in nature with increased happiness and I believe it wholeheartedly.
32.) I think running in general and these parks specifically are the main reason why I'm not depressed right now.
33.) I got to know my neighborhood better by spending so much time exploring it by foot.
34.) I got to know the neighborhoods around my neighborhoods better, too.
35.) Some things are best experienced on foot; you can't get the right perspective from a vehicle.
36.) I don't know if I'd still be running right now if I didn't use this park project to shake up my routine.