In 2007, I was also lucky enough to get to travel to Europe a few times for conferences. While on those trips, I often saw runners out early in the morning. I was in Paris and then Stockholm and Berlin and it seemed there was always someone running. I thought wouldn’t it be fantastic to live in a place like this where you get to see such beauty while running every day! I thought it was great motivation but I still wasn’t inspired to start running regularly.
That year, a friend who has MS decided to do the two-day, 30 mile MS walk. A group of us formed a team and began training for the walk to support her. During the months of training, we walked in different places to change it up because the walks were so long. We did the longer walks of about 13-14 miles around the BWI airport where most of it was partly wooded trails and some times the scenery was very nice (sometimes it was industrial or business parks). We walked from Canton to Federal Hill and back. I loved those walks. We walked on the Baltimore & Annapolis trail. We walked at parks and trails in different communities around Baltimore. I was really starting to enjoy just being outside and experiencing different places while also doing something for my body. I walked on most days and one day, I decided I would rather run.
My love of running began then while training for a walk when I wasn’t forced to run. I just wanted to do it. So, I began waking up early to run before work. When I planned to spend the weekend at Ryan’s house, my running shoes were the first thing I threw in my overnight bag. I would talk him into going to a pretty trail in Annapolis to run with me.
When I moved to Annapolis in 2008 I found so many pretty places to run. I sometimes added a mile or two to my runs just because I was curious where a trail ended up or because I knew I would get to the bridge at just the right time for sunset if I ran a little longer. I did it every day just for me, just because I wanted to.
I know some of you are thinking wait, this is a travel/expat blog, why is she writing about running? This is where I’m lucky! Running in new places is a big part of the experience of discovering a new city for me so I thought it fit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone for a run at 7 am (before most of Europe wakes up) and found cute cafe or noticed shops that I want to visit later in the day. Many places that I wouldn’t have noticed on crowded streets. Seeing a city in the early morning hours is a different experience.
I’m not so lucky in the injury department. I’ve had lots of injuries over the past few years. I’ve had stress fractures, shin splints, torn Achilles tendon, sprains, lost toe nails (that hurts more than you think). One of these injuries (the torn Achilles) occurred while training for the Paris half marath0n. I was pretty upset that my doctor refused to sign my medical waiver for the race (a requirement in some European countries). We went to Paris that weekend anyway because we had already booked the flight and hotel. While I was there, watching the runners with the their bib numbers pinned to their chests disappear into the metro to head to the race while we sat in a cafe having breakfast (albeit, a delicious breakfast), I vowed that I WOULD run in Paris. I don’t know what it was about running in that city but I needed to do it.
Luckily, we are a 5 hour train ride from Paris & we have been fortunate enough to be able to go a couple of times this year but there was always something that prevented me from running. We were too busy and traveling with other people. I had yet another injury. So, when Ryan had to go to Paris for a conference, I gladly tagged along, This was a perfect opportunity. I had fully recovered. The weather was perfectly crisp and sunny and Ryan would be working, which meant I would have plenty of time to do whatever I wanted to do. And, so, I ran. The pictures below are from that almost 5 mile run.
Throughout the whole run I thought about how lucky I am. It’s not that I just realized this. Every day I take a minute to truly appreciate that I am living a dream life here. But, as a runner, it doesn’t get any better (at least my amateur/slow skill level).
The pictures below are of the beautiful city where we live. So, this is what I get to see whenever I run. The cobblestone, tree lined area on the left is where I start just about every run. The trees seem happy to me and I feel like they are cheering when I end my runs. It makes me smile. The picture on the right is my favorite spot in the Kurhaus park behind the historic casino.
The picture below is where I woke up every day for the eight days before our wedding in Mexico, just south of Playa del Carmen, and ran at least three miles before breakfast. The sunrise alone was worth the early wake up!
While on our honeymoon in Positano, Italy, the flower covered street below was where I started my morning run through the very very hilly streets of one of the most beautiful cities we have ever seen. I loved getting out before all of the tourists with just one or two other lucky runners to experience a serenity in the city that most will never see.
Last Christmas in Mauritius, I explored some parts of the island this way. Ryan showed me the hill/mountain where he used to walk his dog every day when he was kid, which is where the feature image at the very top of this post came from. Ryan also ran with me on the beach in the rain. It was a perfect way to spend our rainy day since we couldn’t enjoy the beach in the traditional way. These are just a few of the beautiful places in the world where I have been lucky enough to run. I know that I’m a lucky girl and I want to take full advantage of the opportunity to live here. So, with a few friend I registered for the Lisbon Half Marathon in March and we are planning to register soon for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival half marathon in May.
Thinking about this has inspired me to take more pictures while running so I’m sure there will be more running/travel posts to come!