Since I zip around a bit these days, I find that my travel habits evolve. When I think back to the first European trip Tim and I took together (to Greece, in 2006), the words rookie mistakes come to mind. Mainly this involved trying to do too much in too little time. And not knowing our own limits (bravely scheduling crack-of-dawn flights the morning after attending a Greek wedding, etc.). We had a great trip—no regrets there—but we roll differently six years down the road.
These days we often incorporate running on our vacations. Even two years ago, the idea of exercise on holiday would have sounded like hypocrisy to me. But now that we are race training, I can’t just take a week off if I happen to be somewhere else. My sister has finally convinced me that a run is an interesting way to experience a new place.
I don’t go out and do ten or even five miles on holiday, but in Paris (above, twice) last month I got out two times and did 2-3 miles each in the Parc de la Villette and along the canal that runs through it. (This was a no-brainer because there was a clear trail with minimal intersections, and I wouldn’t get lost. The Parc is out in the 19th Arr., but that was perfect for me–right down the block from my rented flat.) I’d shove my phone in my jacket pocket in case of emergency, something I don’t do at home.
I did one measly mile in Barcelona a week later, followed by another three in Oxford. The Oxford run (through the Oxford University Parks on a spring-like weekday morning) was a treat because it was warm, with one of those fogs that erases all sense of time, lots of runners out, and the parks seem to go on forever. Oxford is a special place for me because my first trip overseas took me there in 2004, but the only running I did then was to beat the rain back to the dorms!
One complication of running unfamiliar paths is that it can be tricky to figure out how far I’ve gone. I don’t own a Garmin. (Tim does, but we don’t run together. Separate issue.) I use Gmap Pedometer after most of my runs, but when the route is new there can be a lot of “And I think I turned here…” or “Wait, I wasn’t by a river!” Oh well—it’s usually the act of getting out there that’s most important.
This month we’re taking it to the next level and actually traveling specifically TO run: the Edinburgh half marathon. We decided to do a spring half after the success of (ie non-death during) our first in Philly in the fall (and because I need a race to motivate me to get out the door in the nasty winter months). Then we looked at the European race calendars and picked April, then the city. I chugged out twelve miles last Saturday and I think I’m as ready as I’m going to get.
But today, it’s Tweede Paasdag (second Easter… don’t ask me) and a holiday—a rainy, cold day and a nice one to stay home, stay inside, and taper.