Not in my wildest dreams would I have sought to be living Highland Avenue South. Yes, “The South” was always a place I wanted to be but Highland Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama? I don’t think so!
Living Highland Avenue South is wonderful. Picture a green and prosperous neighborhood and you get a good picture. Not quite ‘over the mountain’ but just about that spot geographically. It is as beautiful a neighborhood as you could possibly wish for and at the same time living Highland Avenue South is a huge challenge for a ‘flat land’ runner like me.
All along Highland Avenue South you can find the most wondrous vistas and at the same time experience the most excruciating training runs.
Suddenly names like Niazuma Avenue become the equivalent of Kilimanjaro. No longer do I think that I can run the upcoming Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando in November, no, I think that having signed up for the Pixie Dust Challenge in May of 2015 was cheer insanity!
Whenever I train for the upcoming races – and train I do – I feel exhausted and totally overwhelmed. There are muscles that hurt I did not know I even had and try as I may there is simply no long distance road I can possible map which does not involve some crazy elevation.
Having said all this I would not want to live anywhere else in Birmingham but on Highland Avenue South. I recognize that I am blessed to have found a neighborhood that is beautiful, welcoming and historical. I have three parks to pick from, each one of them in literally five minutes walking distance from my doorsteps.
At any given time and everywhere I look there are historical homes and the buzz of Five Points South and the entertainment district. The homes on Highland Avenue South are amazing such as the Donnelly House, a prime venue for weddings located a mere three minutes walk from my home.
Is living Highland Avenue South the Dulcinea of my Dream?
So what am I whining about? Nothing much really except for the physical pain of learning to run in a hilly terrain.
But wait, there is a little more. If I am honest I admit that deep inside there is the dream of a place where palms are swaying in the wind, a place that illuminates nightly to a tune that dreams are made off. A home I never called my own, a home that family and friends feel is far fetched for someone like me, a home that no matter what everyone else says, I still desire. Is it a realistic dream? Nope but does it really matter?
For now I will run like if my life depended on it. I’ll be running and living Highland Avenue South and save the dreams of Windermere for a later time. Windermere after all sounds like putting a name on a windmill. I just hope that – unlike in Don Quichote – Dulcinea will indeed be waiting for me.