I have never been much of a morning person. My family can attest to my “zombie-like” state when I used to get up early for school. I’d often stay under the covers for a few extra minutes. I was also never much of a solo runner.
However, I was very involved in diverse sports. I started playing field hockey at a Dutch mixed field hockey club when I was 7 (it’s a popular sport among both men and women!), danced ballet, enjoyed and competed in horseback riding, took ice skating lessons, and much more. When you’re younger you have endless energy devoted into many hobbies, which is still possible as you get older with good time management.
What does this have to do with travel?
I recently started running in the morning in preparation for two 5K races this summer. Even though it’s been a few days since I started the new routine, I’ve come to realize that running in the early hours is a very serene experience. It’s wonderful that in a city that’s always bustling and noisy, that around 6:45 AM all you hear are a few birds chirping and cars passing by.
Running gives you a great opportunity to combine a workout with the added bonus of exploring a city. By running, you see neighborhoods, parks, and other areas of a city that you might not otherwise get the chance to go to. If running is not your cup of tea, jump on a bike or see where a walk takes you.
One of my favorite parks is right in my neighborhood of Harlem – the Marcus Garvey Park. The park gets its name from renowned publisher, journalist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Locals still also refer to it by its original name of Mount Morris Park.
“Marcus Garvey Park is one of the oldest public squares in Manhattan. Central to the life of Harlem for more than 150 years, it has served as a meeting place for neighbors, a front yard and play area for schoolchildren, and a holy place for members of local churches,” according to eastharlem.com.