A change-up in routine is good. After what seemed like a particularly long winter, with a more-than-normal sedentary lifestyle, I felt I needed to get the kinks out physically and clear the cobwebs mentally. So, I created a challenge for myself of getting outside and walking every morning, Monday to Friday, for the month of April. If I could set my alarm, give myself a schedule, and just do it, I could create a habit in my routine for the better. The outdoors was my salvation.
I even went ahead and bought a new pair of Asics runners because my beloved Mizunos still had my quick-tie laces from the last triathlon I participated in - which is too far back to discuss here. Let's just say, new "equipment" was in order. But that's all I got, because I wanted to keep things simple. So, as I left the house each morning -- in my new Asics -- the only accessories I would grab were my house key and cell phone.
Oh, it was hard for me to not bring my camera along...my real camera. Morning light, as the sun is starting to peek over the mountain tops, is amazing for pictures. But have you lugged a DSLR camera anywhere for a significant amount of time? Glass - which is what is in those lenses - is not light, and definitely not made to carry around while exercising. So, my Samsung Galaxy cell phone camera it was. For a month.
Right off the bat I decided to post one photo from my mornings to my Instagram account. Something that caught my eye and told a story about my walk. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a bit of a morning theme (aside from the odd pic of a pug, lovebird, or something in my garden). What I'm sharing in this blog post didn't make the original cuts. I didn't have destinations, distances, or time limits planned. I just left the house and let my feet do the walking. My first day might have been a half-hour, but it wasn't long before one hour plus became the norm. Mornings are magical I discovered; and it was a discovery, because I've never been much of a morning person. I got hooked on the quietude and freedom from human distraction while out and about. I enjoyed being on the sidewalks, wooded paths, rural roads, and alleyways when no one else was. It felt safe. But that comes from someone who is pretty picky about her social interactions and also about her physical space. For me, social media isn't a bad thing. I'd probably be a recluse without it.
I discovered a new town -- a morning town -- during this time. I could have been in a new place, not the one I've lived in for the past 4 years. I discovered things I didn't know existed. Grand Forks isn't huge. I found out there aren't many places in (and out of) the city limits can't be walked to. Have I mentioned before that I graduated from high school here and lived the first 18 years of my life 15 minutes east along the highway? I've been coming back for my entire life in between...and there are so many things I didn't know existed. Which makes me wonder: how many of us know our towns? Really know them? Sure, we get busy and have to keep up with daily life activities... but does life sometimes get in the way?... or do we get in the way of life?
The month of April was really focused for me. I would wake up, walk, work, and repeat. I would post my one morning photo. Funny enough, I think my photographer's "eye" got better. Without the fancy camera, I worked harder at my shots. It was a side challenge that happened by accident. I finished my challenge out and, now, have successfully created a habit. I'm walking into May. My mornings will be getting earlier because of the heat. The sun is showing itself earlier and earlier. But that's okay... because I live in morning town now.
note: to see the photos that made the cut, check out my Intstagram by clicking on the bold link in this post or on the icon at the bottom of any page. I'm @mmkazakoff for any already on there. Also, as usual, click on any of these photos to see a larger version.