~ Be a Globetrotting, Jet-setting Runner ~
I am very excited to bring to you Guest Post #11. I have been friends with TK now for the better part of a year and she never ceases to amaze me with her impressive running and her impassioned writing. She always has a kind word and has been so supportive of my running. I got to run with Tk once along with Brandon from BrandonsMarathon along the Central Park Reservoir and she made sure to wait for me as I was trailing behind, always making sure I was ok. She then wrote a fab blog post and dubbed me Baby Bear:
Last night, I met my running buddies/Twitter friends MJ and BW at 72nd and 5th Avenue for a run. The three of us running together truly is a case of Goldilocks–Brandon is Papa Bear, I am Mama Bear, and Michelle is Baby Bear. We range the gamut in height and speed, but managed to sort it out and find a Just Right pace.
I love that. It stuck and to this day I call TK ~ Mama Bear. Since then, we have had many fabulous tweet ups, brunches and beer drinking together with a lot of laughter and love. So, please enjoy this awesome post on Vacation Running. I know I did.
Before I launch into my trip down memory lane of great vacation running, I want to say what an honor it is to write as a guest on Runnin’ Down a Dream. I am delighted I get to address all of you, since you are just like me–a fan and admirer of Michelle the runner and Michelle the person. We don’t call her Miss Joy for nothing!
I’m TK, and it’s great to meet you! I blog directly about my running, and obliquely about my various ecstasies and heartaches, over at Pigtails Flying. But you all don’t want to hear about my personal triumphs and travails over here; no, I’m going for better value. So let’s think about Vacation Running for a while.
When I say Vacation Running I’m not talking about taking a vacation from running. Nosireebob! While we all need a few days off from our beloved sport every now and then, what I mean when I say Vacation Running is running while on vacation, while spending a few days living life away from your usual abode and routine.
In my mind, “vacation” means one thing and one thing only: I get to do whatever the hell I want for the duration of said vacation. (This is why I will frequently vacation alone, but that’s a separate blog post.) Since I am a runner, heading out into unknown terrain for a leisurely run is a big part of what I want to do when I have a few uninterrupted days off from work. Not to mention, it’s a great way to burn off the extra calories we all inevitably take in while traveling. I am going to give you a list of my top Vacation Run locations right now, counting backwards, but I hope you all are inspired to remember your favorite Vacation Runs, too.
10. Riverside Estates, Pocono Lake, PA — this is the loop around my neighborhood in Pennsylvania. Whenever Husband & I go to our house there, it’s a minibreak and thus my running is sweeter.
9. St. Lucia–I tried to go for a run on the fern and palm tree bordered roads around our resort when I was on my honeymoon, but they were so hilly and I was so oppressed by the fabulous humid heat that I gave up, laughing, after about 10 minutes. I was getting another sort of exercise that week anyway. Ahem!
8. Cape Cod, MA–Husband and I, back when we were poor-ish, used to take driving/camping vacations every summer. One year we went to Cape Cod, and I loved everything about the place. The ocean’s perpetual motion, the way the sand crept up and drifted into town. I ran through the back roads of our motel’s neighborhood a couple of times and did nothing but imagine myself living there.
Beautiful Cape Cod
7. South Beach, FL–every couple of years the Capitol of Flash beckons, and I can’t resist the call. Is there anything dreamier than running along that curvy promenade through Lummus Park, the beach & ocean on one side and all the fancy hotels on the other? Oh, lest I forget, all the fit men jogging by shirtless and tan? I have no objection to eye candy!
6. Sydney, Australia— This doesn’t quite qualify as a Vacation Run since I was in Sydney for work and took advantage of a weekend layover to get in a run with a local acquaintance. My girlfriend led me along a greenway which hemmed in the beaches. We ended our run on an actual ocean beach and dove into the waves to cool ourselves off, screeching and laughing. Oh yes, we caught a fair amount of attention.
5. Rio de Janiero, Brazil–I’m cheating here again. I went to Rio for work and took advantage of a weekend layover to run along the beaches’ sidewalks. Brazilians run–just think of Marilson Gomez dos Santos –and in Rio, they run from beach to beach. I did it too, and even though I had on a singlet and shorts I was the most covered-up runner out there as I trotted from Copacabana to Ipanema to Leblon and back.
4. Edinburgh, Scotland–My mom and I spent a little over a week traveling around the British Isles together several years ago. Desperate for time & space alone, I got in A LOT of vacation running. The Water of Leith pathway wound its way through the whole city– I could have done a 20-mile out and back run if I’d been so inclined–passing such sites as the Museum of Modern Art and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The river’s in view the entire time, as are gorgeous old Scottish homes and swathes of green foliage.
3. Lafayette/Boulder/Denver, CO–Little Brother lives in Colorado, and both he and his wife are runners. Not only have I logged a fair amount of miles with them, chatting and bonding as we jogged, but I try and run the Mother’s Day Title 9k with Sister-in-Law as often as I can. Additionally, I recently got to run with my Twitter/blogging/podcasting friend Matt, and it was a big treat to see his home turf.
2. Ireland–Last year I went to Ireland for a dear friend’s wedding, and even though I had to bag two training runs due to jet lag and hangovers, I still managed to run a pretty scenic 10k through the Irish countryside, passing hedgerows and pastures of wooly sheep. Little old Irishmen in woolen caps chugged by me on their tractors or lorries, and I adored every step of that damp hilly run.
1. London, England–before I made it to Scotland with Mom, we first spent a few days in London. I love this city, and since I’d already been here I wasn’t so interested in the tourist sites. More than anything I wanted to pretend I lived there, and a regular morning run along the River Thames was the moment in which I could most delude myself I was a native. I ran through Southwark, past the Globe Theater, the Millennium Bridge and the London Eye. After two workouts, I could anticipate the inclines and quirky turns, I knew when to look up and across the river to enjoy the ferries, an illuminated Tate Modern or an old church. This was the sweet spot, where the Vacation Run becomes the Comfortable Run, that transition period where it’s magic isn’t lost to routine and familiarity hasn’t smothered the adventure.
Millennium Bridge ~ London
So tell me, and tell our Miss Joy here, what is your favorite memory of running while on vacation? What made it so special for you? Was it a race or just a “pleasure cruise” jog? Leave a comment, or, better yet, if you have your own blog, post your own Top 10 or Top 5 Vacation Runs list!
P.S.- I also tweet about my running, my red wine adventures, and cite excellent song lyrics @pigtailsflying. If you’re on Twitter, follow me too!