Since 2014 I’ve probably spent about 6 months of my life living in hotels in Louisiana. To keep myself on an even keel and minimize the effects of the large portions of fried food, I try to run regularly down there.
I’ve tried different hotels in different places and all have their advantages and disadvantages from a running standpoint. The first one in Baton Rouge was in a sketchy neighbourhood where the sidewalks were cracked and so overgrown with brush that I had to go in the road. Neighbourhoods had signs indicating they were patrolled by off-duty police and there was no shortage of liquor and pawn shops. Not quite the place for an evening run. Another place was pretty great – right near LSU, I could run along the Mississippi Levee and around the lake that’s on campus. But that one is generally outside our company’s allowable price range. And so I end up in the small town place right near work. This one has limited options. There’s the four lane busy street that has no sidewalks but a bit of a breakdown lane. Watch out for inattentive drivers, especially those coming from the drive-through daiquiri shop (yes, picking up mixed drinks at a drive through is, in fact, a thing in Louisiana). Another option is to go to the track at the high school a 10 min drive away. Not bad but boring. A few times I have run down a country road accessible form the rear exit of the hotel. It goes through a few different areas.
Some of them are nice:
Others are a little sketchy:
The road there is nice, though. Not too busy as it only goes to a few houses. On the other hand it’s pretty rural so if I were to need help I might be out of luck. One day I was running down there with my headphones in enjoying a nice sunny day. I was about at my turn-around point when all of a sudden I heard a sound I had dreaded for a while. A barking dog. Not looking back, I picked up the pace. My heart pounded as I looked for escape routes. On the one side was a field and a lot with some semi trucks. On the other side the swamp. No doubt there might be a few of these guys there:
Finally, after about 30 seconds after the barking started I looked back to see if I was gaining ground or if I needed to put on another burst of speed to get away from this ferocious beast. And that is when I finally saw the fierce creature that was following me: It was a chihuahua.
I’ll be staying in that hotel again but will likely be going to the track for running. The lack of sidewalks and the fact that drivers generally seem very surprised to see someone traveling that is not in a car makes me a bit nervous.