Not in my wildest dreams would I have sought to be living on 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 on 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 it is a huge challenge for a “flat land” runner like me.
All along Highland Avenue South you can find the most wondrous vistas and 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 2015 was sheer 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 that 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 5 minutes’ walking distance from my doorstep.
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 3-minute walk from my home.
Is Living on Highland Avenue South the Dulcinea of my Dreams?
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 of. 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 my life depends on it. I’ll be running and living on 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 Quixote–Dulcinea will indeed be waiting for me.