Springing into Shape

Early morning walkers, joggers, and cyclist at Lake Montebello get a jump on the day.

Early morning walkers, joggers, and cyclist at Lake Montebello get a jump on the day.

The sun is just beginning to rise over Lake Montebello. A flock of geese flies over the still water making honking sounds, perhaps as a good morning greeting to the early morning walkers, runners and bikers. It’s finally spring and the days appear to be getting warmer. However, a cool breeze passes through the atmosphere as a reminder of a stubborn winter season struggling to bid its farewell.

On this morning, it’s particularly busy, as there are more visitors to the lake than usual. A middle aged woman stretches over by the fitness station and a man laces up his running shoes as he prepares to mount his bicycle. A group of athletes sprints past wearing bright yellow shirts with the words BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER printed on the back. Spring isn’t the only thing in the air. Exercise is as well.

Usually you can find Dominique Douglas, a Morgan State junior majoring in business management, on her way to class or nestled in a secluded corner in the Earl S. Richardson Library. Today you can find her geared up in a white tank top, black jogging leggings, a gray sweatshirt tied around her waist, and gray-and- pink Nikes on feet preparing to jog a mile around Lake Montebello.

“This is Operation Body like Beyoncé,” she says as she ties a black bandana over her head. “I have plans to go to Miami this summer, so I have to get this body beach ready!”

For many people, the beginning of spring is the best time to start fresh. Everyone
 wants to transition into the season on a good foot, whether it’s spring cleaning, shopping for new clothes, or breaking out the hose and bucket to give that car a much needed wash. For others, spring is just a reminder that summer is right around the corner and it’s time to shed some unwanted winter weight and tighten up that body.

Douglas, who isn’t a big fan of exercising in any type of cold weather, says spring offers a comfortable temperature for working out. Not too cold. Not too hot.

“I think coming to the lake is so much better than going to the gym because the view and the water just put me at peace. I’m much more focused when I’m outside and it doesn’t feel like creepers are staring at me do my thing.”

Lake Montebello offers a perfect alternative for people who wish to exercise outside of a gym. It is located in Northeast Baltimore at the intersection of Hillen Road and East 33rd Street. The reservoir is a holding pond for the City’s Department of Public Works Regional Water System and the Montebello Filtration Plant.  The 1.3 mile flat loop trail around the lake makes it ideal for people to walk, run, skate or bike. The scenic view of water and nature is an added bonus.

“One of the best times to work out at the lake is early in the morning when there are just a few people,” says Kevin Zester, a neighborhood resident. “I come here at least three times a week, five if I’m trying to get away from my wife. I try to walk two to three miles to keep my old bones functional.”

Zester, who isn’t too concerned about obtaining a hot summer body, frequently exercises at the lake to manage the arthritis in both of his knees. The sun reflects off his bald head as he continues his walk around the lake humming the song “Happy” by Pharrell.

The temperature is in the mid-forties right now but the weatherman has called for a high in the 60s. Lake Montebello is buzzing as the warm weather beckons people out of their homes and offices for some fresh air. The monthly forecast in Baltimore for the month of April is a 30%-60% chance of precipitation for the first two weeks of the month and then average temperatures in the 60-75 degree range.

“I am sick of snow! I’ve been looking forward to spring ever since winter started!” said Sakenah Bridges, a Morgan State senior majoring in public relations. She lives in Morgan View, the student apartments on Pentridge Road, with her roommate and best friend Angela Fields.

“Me and Angie are trying to spring into shape. We’ve been eating out a lot over the winter and I think we can do better to get ourselves back into shape.”

“It was my idea anyway,” says Fields, as she stretches along the wrought iron fencing around the lake, “I don’t like to eat out all the time but ‘Kenah is addicted to Chipotle and Sunny’s and Taco Bell.”

“Yeah right!” Bridges says with a playful shove. “I only suggest those places. You’re the one who drives us there and pays for it.”

“And my bank account can’t support your fast food cravings anymore!”

Bridges and Fields take to the trail to start their mile walk. Goodbye, winter! Hello, spring! See you soon, summer!

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