Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Up and Running

Its been about a year since I've done any serious running, apart from the sprinting I did in the Budapest station to catch the train to Krakow. A lot of my habits changed when I came to Romania, and I guess running wasn't one to make the cut.

However, I resolved today to reclaim this habit (especially since the weather has started to be so nice here). For the past few days I had given some thought to where I could run; Lugoj is not exactly an ideal town for runners. At first I was a bit shy about running, since I don't often see people jogging around town. Secondly, I had always been warned about stray dogs chasing runners, which made me a tad nervous.

So I thought, where might I go to avoid the dogs? My first idea was the park, where it is shaded, and relatively devoid of big dogs. However, it's sort of small, often crowded, and the paths are paved in asphalt, which I don't really prefer. Then, I thought about running along the banks of the river, which is fairly scenic and also has some shady spots. But, I wasn't sure about the dog situation, and the sidewalks are concrete. Next, I thought about running in the cemetery, which is rather large and has a wall surrounding it. I thought perhaps the wall would make it a fairly dog-safe area, but then I thought that if people noticed me running around the cemetery, they might be offended, or at least they'd think I was nuts.

Then, finally, it hit me. I knew there was a soccer stadium on the outskirts of town, but I had never seen what it was like inside. It looks rather dilapidated from outside, so I just assumed that it was closed and abandoned. But, I decided to go check it out today, to see if there might be a way to get inside. I nearly walked around the whole thing, trying to find an entrance. There were walls around the entire field and couldn't really see inside. But, I heard noises, and every so often I caught a glimpse of a soccer ball as it arced high enough for me to see it over the wall. So, I knew the stadium couldn't, in fact, be closed. I trotted around a corner, and came to a doorway. Once inside, I was stunned. Not only were there tons of people playing soccer or practicing, but there was also something else--a one-lane dirt track around the entire perimeter of the field! It was perfect! So I happily jogged a few laps just to see how out of shape I was. I typically prefer trail running, but I'll take what I can get, even if it's flat and lacking shade. In any case, it was good (both physically and mentally) to get some exercise.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you were able to find a solution to your exercise routine, and the dogs!

Jack Nork said...

love these slice of life stories Mike, keep em coming! :)

Rachel said...

Kinda unrelated, but your latest photo album of the cookout is one of the best by far... really gives you a great snapshot (pun sort of intended) of non-urban Romanian life. Good stuff, keep it coming!

Oh, and happy birthday ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I stumbled upon your blog just a few days ago - it's a lot of fun to find out how an American sees Romania :)
I'm Adriana, I was born in Timisoara and now I live in Toronto, Canada.
Regarding your running experience in Lugoj - you may be interested to know there is a race in Timisoara, on Oct 12th. You can run a marathon, half-marathon or a 10km. (www.maraton.ro)
I will be in Timisoara in a few weeks and plan to run the half-marathon.
If you have time, drop by :) I'd love to meet you, and also, the race organizers would be honoured to have you there!

adriana at blueironweb dot com

Charity Shambaugh said...

I know this is like 5 years after you've written this post but I have just moved to Lugoj and also am encountering the problem you posted about in finding a place to run. I'm going to check out that stadium and see if it is still in use! Thanks for the suggestion.