Running and traveling – the perfect combination

One of the greatest things about running (and to me there are so many great things, so this is big) is how it is the perfect compliment to traveling.  Not only does your running experience benefit by having new routes, sites, smells and temperatures, but your travel experience benefits by seeing places and things you otherwise wouldn’t.  I always feel less like a tourist and a little more a part of a place when I run there.

Last weekend my husband and I went to Miami for the weekend without kids.  We were going for a paddle board race which he had entered, but of course we both expected to do quite a bit of running.

Day 1: We landed on Friday afternoon.  We were coming from Toronto where temperatures had been hovering around zero degrees or just above for way too long.  We landed smack in the middle of thirty degree hot humidity.  It felt sooooo good.  Especially in our air conditioned hotel.

Cool, classy lobby of The Cadet hotel

The first thing we decided to do to get a good feel for the place was to go for a run.  We also wanted to take advantage of the freedom of having all the time in the world without kid duties, so we immediately agreed on an hour and a half run.  And we did an out-and-back.  Probably not the best decision when you’re running in a 30 degree variance from what your body is used to.  By the end we had slowed down quite a bit and were feeling quite limp, hot and dehydrated.  Luckily we had the ocean to jump into at the end, and we did get to see parts of Miami we would definitely not otherwise have seen.

Also this happened to my fingers:

(For some reason they puffed into little sausages.  My hands have about a five degree window in which they are comfortable running – somewhere between 12 and 17 degrees.  If the weather strays too far outside this window they will either go numb or puff up.  I should really look into my circulation issues at some point.)

Of course when you travel it’s good to really get into the local scene.  We tried our best by sampling the local cuisine and drinks.

Post long run beer

Day 2: The main reason for our trip (apart from adult time and free running time) was the Kommona paddle board race.  Luckily I was lent a board by the very kind c4 rep who we’d met the night before so I had a chance to jump in the race as well.  I had a great time, came second in my class (out of two) and second last overall.  What a great sport.

At the finish line of the 5 mile Kommona paddle race

Next up was our second run of the trip, but first we had to recover from our morning paddle and wait out the main heat of the day.  This is how we accomplished that:

Relaxing pre-run #2 in South Beach

Later that afternoon we went out for run #2 of the trip.  This time we went the other direction to explore a different area.  It was still hot but we were a little more cautious with our pace and our ambitions.  We’d decided on one hour for this one.  About 25 minutes in it started to rain.  It was actually quite enjoyable as the rain made us feel a tad cooler.  It still seemed like warm rain though.  It got interesting when the rain got harder and harder and seemed to turn into a flash flood.  Sidewalks completely disappeared and we were up to our knees in water at some points.  This wasn’t at all bad as we now had the entire boardwalk to ourselves where before we had been dodging crowds of people.  We finished run #2 soaking and happy, and the storm passed as quickly as it had come.  What a great way to experience it.

Day 3: This was our final day on vacation.  We didn’t have a lot of time before our mid-morning flight, so I set my alarm to run early.  My husband opted to sleep in and get his run in back home.  I couldn’t forgo the warm running opportunity after having complained about the cold for about six months straight.  I decided to do a fartlek workout in order keep myself occupied since I didn’t have my running buddy.  At 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning the streets were deserted and the look and feel of them gave the sense that we’d missed a wild night of partying.  As I ran, the city started to come to life with the early morning cleaners and by the end, some fellow runners.

On my way home I sat on the plane  satisfied knowing that I’d gotten three enjoyable and memorable days of running because of my vacation, and an amazing travel vacation experience because of my running.