Well, you might have wondered where I’ve been the past few weeks. I’m happy to report that I have been touring the North East on a series of mini vacations, moving apartments (more on that to come), and enjoying the summer. August started out with a trip to Rhode Island, where I maxed and relaxed with KFB’s family in Narragansett. This was my first trip to RI, and it was beautiful. We had perfect weather, with the sun shinning bright and the breeze dropping temperatures to the low 80s. The cool crisp mornings fulfilled the much-needed break from DC’s disastrous summer, providing the perfect atmosphere for a nice run. After 5 days in RI, I came back to DC only to turn around and head to Atlantic City for a Bachelor Party. This was also my first trip to AC, and well, I think I did pretty good for myself. While running was at a minimum, I did almost pay for the whole trip in roulette winnings. We did plenty of gambling, made plenty of funny memories, and of course drank plenty of beer. To wrap up my August vacations, I headed to the mountains of Maine, for a short backpacking trip through Baxter State Park with some family. In Baxter we climbed Mt. Katahdin, the final leg of the Appalachian Trail. I’ve been through many parts of the AT, and I have to say that Katahdin was one of the most beautiful. The mountain is very dramatic, with incredible views of the surrounding area.
For many people, running and vacation don’t seem to fit well in one sentence. Unless, of course, “I’m not running on vacation” is the sentence. But when you are in the middle of training, for whatever length, “I’m not running on vacation” isn’t always an option. Having done a lot of it over the past few weeks, I’m here to say that my vacation runs (with the exception of AC…for obvious reasons) have been some of my best runs of this training season.
Running on vacation can be great. Here are a few reasons way:
1) It’s Fresh – So often I find myself running the same routes, several times a week. I run past the same intersections, up the same hills, and through the same neighborhoods almost every day. For the most part I could do it with my eyes closed. This can be great, but can also be boring. Vacation gives you the opportunity to explore this new town, city, state, or country that you probably don’t know very well.
While in Rhode Island I went out for what I planned to be about a 10 mile run. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew that if I went out this one road, it would follow the coastline for several miles. A few miles down the road, I found several cut-off streets that sent me right down to the water. I saw some amazing views and explored some incredible neighborhoods. Minutes and miles were flying by as I ran through these new streets. Several times I even found a smile on my face, as I turned the corner to a new overlook. I ended up running what I believe to be about 12-13 miles, and enjoying every minute of it.
2) Change of Weather – With a new location comes new weather. Going on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to find cooler weather if your hometown is hot, or warmer weather if your hometown is cold, but it mixes it up! Lucky for me most of my vacations were up north, providing some ideal weather conditions for a lengthy run.
Once I got off the trail in Maine, I took some time to go out for a run. Even though my legs were well used throughout the hike and climb, I wanted to make sure I kept up with some miles. I went on a jog around a lake in the small town of Winthrop. The scenery was great, but the weather even better. The cooler temperatures definitely helped power the senses and get me going.
3) Lose the Mileage – If you are anything like me, you often find yourself totally caught up in your mileage. Too frequently I’m so focused on how many miles I’ve run this week that I forget to have fun. I pick my routes for the length, not the enjoyment. Because you usually don’t know where you are going when you take off for a jog while on vacation, it gives you the option to just go out there and run. Don’t bother opening up your mapmyrun account, and just use the watch. Tell yourself that you want to go out for a certain amount of time, and take off. Go wherever the road takes you, and explore whenever looks interesting.
Running through your vacation can seem like an added stress you would rather just leave at home, but if you look at it as a good vacation outing, it can be a real highlight. Keep up your running, keep enjoying your vacation.
Anyone else do any vacation running this summer?