Have you ever been to the mall, before hours, to see all of the seniors swiftly gliding around, waving enthusiastically at one another? It’s this whole subculture that takes place between the hours of 6:00 until the store’s opening. As a former mall employee, I can attest to seeing the same faces, day after day. Back in the day we certainly walked the mall as well. It was warm, dry and not too fast for my slow self. It was the perfect place to get started on winter fitness before I had built up mileage or endurance. These days it can be tricky to get out and get the workout in during the winter. When the rain falls and the sky is dark, it’s ridiculously easy to hunker down under a blanket instead of running around freezing my booty off.
To make ourselves a little more comfortable, we’ve adopted the mid-lifers version of the mall: the high school, between the hours of 5:00 PM and 10:00PM! High schools usually have covered, yet outdoor, hallways. Nobody is there. We can RUN because we are alone. For whatever reason, in the 1960’s when they built so many of our Western Washington schools, they built them using a California model with outdoor hallways. Freezing, wet, outdoor hallways. They are not fun when 16 and in a skirt between classes, but they are perfect for people who like to run. Because high schools have events that run late at night, the walkways are usually well-lit and safe, even at night. They protect schools with security systems and guards, there’s a million different routes to take, the kids love playing there…. I’m feeling pretty clever at having discovered our new hang! We’ve gone several times this season and I think we will definitely continue. I managed over four miles on campus today, and never once had to share the track with the bajillion kids at soccer camp. 😉
Add to that, that our kids love to run around and play. We let them play parkour in the courtyard, they run play tag, ride their scooters respectfully and are feeling quite at home at their future high school. They ask questions about the different clubs, observe the different sporting events and beg to attend the plays.
It’s a suggestion, I’m making. A movement, if you will. A place to set aside our excuses Of dark-wet-cold. These are public, safe places meant for families. We should be using them like the public parks they are supposed to be after hours!