10 Jan Jogging in Prague
Prague isn’t a city of joggers. I saw a few when I was there, in Letna park or in some of the more suburban neighborhoods, but from what I learned, jogging isn’t an activity that many Czechs like to participate in. And because I knew this, I saw people staring at me everywhere I jogged. For all I know, they might have thought I was cute, ugly, or just glanced in my direction. But at the time they were staring daggers at me, as if I were running naked down their street instead of just jogging.
I lived in Dejvicka which is northwest of the city center and more residential than right in the middle of the city. Instead of apartments or large divided houses, Dejvicka had small houses with lawns and driveways, even fences. So I guess I can understand why people were maybe looking at me. Especially when I would run past an elementary school.
It was a little uncomfortable, made worse by the fact that I think I look weird when I run and I start trying to run “normally” which probably makes me loo even more awkward. So I started waking up really early to run. I mean like 5 am early. And I HATE waking up early. But it was either that or be stared at while I grew sweatier and more haggard-looking.
I would wake up, if I hadn’t stayed out late the night before, and put on a sweatshirt to go out to the cool morning. In April the sun came up really early and by the time I left my dorm the sun was just starting to come up. I ran on the cobblestoned sidewalks, trying not to roll an ankle, and would get lost. I’d run wherever I felt like it, trying to take my mind off of jogging, and instead focus on the road and houses around me.
I’d run past the Technical University with its library with a full wall of windows so I could look inside at the shelves. I’d run up a small hill that took me to a soccer field for either a semi-pro team or just a really important club, I never did find out. I’d run past small one or two-story beige houses with red roofs, all of which were still and silent inside. Stores were closed. The one main street I’d go on, Jugoslávských partyzánů, was deserted, completely different from during the day when the grocery store Billa was busy and the restaurants and shops were always full.
Without the rumble from the car tires over the cobblestones or the scrap of trams on the tracks, the morning was silent. I would only hear the wind through the trees, a few birds, and my own footfalls. It was calming and energizing. But then I’d go back to my dorm, to my sleeping roommates, shower quietly, and sit in silence for a while, again, wondering why, over and over, I’d forced myself to get up so early to run. But then I’d head out, find a new cafe to try and know it was really for the quiet mornings in the city I was lucky enough to call home for a while, and the feeling that I was the only one seeing Prague, if only for a few minutes.
Have you ever had that feeling in a city? That you’re the only one around, and it’s sort of special? Tell me about it in the comments below.