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September 17th, 2013
When Running,Take the Right Turn
I really need to stop going left when I leave my house for a run. It’s not that I like turning left more than right or anything silly like that, but for the past month I’ve been following the same route. It’s exactly a 10k if I run around the lake in the park near my house. Since I know the distance and how long it should take, I’ve fallen into the trap of being comfortable and it’s put me into a rut.
My rut was causing me to lose sight of all the reasons why I was running, so today I decided to go right. It’s not like I hadn’t ran that way before, but I was in real need of inspiration, so I came up with running all three pedestrian bridges that cross the main highway into downtown Buffalo from the suburbs. I’ve passed under them all my life never even thinking about them. I didn’t even realize there were three of them until a few days before this run.
After turning right, the feeling of discovery started to come back to me. I had forgotten about the discovery part of running that I always talked about. To get to these pedestrian bridges, you have to run through a fairly tough neighborhood with a lot of poverty and neglect over the years. It’s called the Fruit Belt because all the streets are named after fruit that was grown there by German settlers back in the 1850‘s. As I passed the ﬁrst-mile mark into Fruit Belt, I notice many dilapidated houses and vacant lots. The most startling thing was how much green space there was between all the houses. It’s almost like the neighborhood is ﬁlled with park space.
As a BMX street rider, I’ve been to all parts of the city—good and bad, so seeing the rundown neighborhood didn’t really disturb me. However, what I saw next really surprised me. There were new buildings going up in the vacant lots. Not just in one area, but all through out the Fruit Belt. Houses were being renovated as well. I always prided myself on knowing what’s happening in the city I live in, but how did I not know this was happening? This was great news in a city where change never seems to happen.
My goal of running the three pedestrian bridges was interesting, but all I could think about for the next few days was the change happening in the Fruit Belt. I’ve done two other runs since then, each time going down a new street. My running as a vehicle for discovery has been reignited all because I took that right turn.
Jim Cielencki Contributor
Jim Cielencki is a former BMX professional who can't seem to shake the thrill seeker in him. He founded Sunday Bikes in 2005 and continues to wear many hats there today. Jim has also written for numerous BMX magazines and websites.http://www.sundaybikes.com