I started running about a year ago because I began to notice how much of a difference regular exercise made in my mood and my energy levels. I was going through kind of a rough period and needed all the endorphins I could get, and when I moved into my current apartment I established a regular route through the neighborhood. I live near a set of man-made lakes with a lovely little trail that runs along part of them, and at six in the morning it's absolutely stunning. The other day I brought my camera along so I could share my mood-boosters with you, so this is what I see (in roughly the order I see it) every day I manage to drag my ass out of bed by 5:45:
Most days the moon is still out when I step out the door.
Bougainvillea! I'll save my rhapsody about bougainvillea for another day.
The first neighborhood street, and the point at which I usually wake up fully.
People really have some lovely flower gardens. Also, I love plants.
There is a species of palm native to North America. This is not it. But isn't it great? Doesn't it make you feel like you're on vacation...even though you're not?
This is the pathway leading up to the lake, through a little park. On Mondays and Wednesdays there are two ladies working through exercises with a trainer, and there is outdoor nautilus equipment available in the park.
There are ridiculous numbers of ducks on the lake, which makes me super happy because when I was little I used to feed the ducks at my grandparents' lakehouse with stale Wonderbread my grandma would give me. The part I can't capture in the pictures is how much noise all the birds are making at this hour; all the small birds are singing loudly and the ducks are flapping at each other and calling at the geese, and carp are breaching with their little popping sounds. Occasionally I see the blue heron that lives in the area. There's also a white crane, and these little king-fisher type birds that all perch on the edge of the lake and fish in the early mornings and late evenings.
Sunrise! Run is still feelin' pretty good.
This is the view around the bend in the lake path.
The community dock, and the random free-standing gate to prevent people who aren't "members" from parking their boats there. For some reason I find this thing hilarious. They could just swim if they were that desperate to park their boats there.
Last view of the main lake...
Until I turned around to see the carp breaching to catch flies on top of the water. Weirdest thing ever to watch.
The lovely little alleyway connecting the main lake to the smaller one. Just at the end is where I usually see the heron.
Very cool saguaro, almost in bloom, outside one of the neighborhood homes. Also the point where my run starts to hurt.
The LDS church that means I'm almost home. One thing about the Mormons, they have freaking great taste in architecture. The most beautiful buildings in the desert are usually theirs.
And, finally, a closeup of a bloom on a bush just outside my favorite house in the neighborhood, a lovely little grey number on the corner.