Friday, 15 June 2012

Running abroad

Our camping trip

The Missus, the young Padawan and myself just returned from a trip to France. As a different geographic location is never an excuse to not run, I brought my shoes with me for the trip. We were somewhere in the middle of the country for about a week and I only got in one run - for all sorts of excellent reasons. Quite unlike my native country, France is hilly and despite the relative shortness of my run there it was HEAVY.

Still, the scenery of the run was great. I ran through a tiny village (Alvignac), down towards the next village and up a tiny lane starting a steep ascend towards a Chateau d'Eau (yes, water-towers are usually built on the highest point in the area...). After having passed the Chateau d'Eau, it was a relaxed half hour more-or-less down-hill run back towards the camp-site where we were staying. Though my half-marathon schedule prescribed a very easy 40 minute run, this turned into a 50+ minute (8.6 k) hill-training.

Away from home

Being away from my regular running-haunts can be both very good and very bad. Some years ago, I needed to be in London several times in a short-is period of time. I stayed in a hotel with only a dimly-lit park in the vicinity and did not dare to encounter the regulars of the area. The treadmill - the only alternative if I wanted to do any sort of running - in the hotel was either facing a mirror (charming) or facing the floor-to-ceiling windows (which against the dark of night turn into a mirror - also charming).


Treadmills are evil.

The same city offers a Great variety of excellent running grounds in daylight. At one particular visit, I got into my running shoes at six in the morning and did a lovely 10 k through Hyde Park (Fartleking my way from squirrel to park bench). During the same stay, I was invited by the staff of a local running shop to join them and their regular Wednesday night running group for a run.

About a year ago, I was in Las Vegas, where the average day temperature is twice the value I am used to. Fortunately, at six in the morning, the temp is only 30 degrees Celsius. I left my hotel and went for a 7 k run where the distance I ran was determined by the half-way mark of my water bottle. (Forgive the crappy results of my BlackBerry GPS receiver. I forgot to bring my Forerunner).

What I specifically remember of a couple of runs I did in various cities villages in Norway were the extremely hazardous circumstances that were created by the lack of decent foot or cycling paths. I did some six or seven runs during my stay there and do not care to remember the trouble we went to to find locations that did not involve (mostly local) cars doing 1.5 times the speed-limit of 60 k/h.

Fun!

Yet, no matter the challenge, I always bring my running gear on whatever (private or work-related) trip I go on. It's fun to collect Garmin Connect entries from across the globe (if you remember to bring the Forerunner). The fact that my VFF can be reduced to the size of half of one of my former running shoes definitely helps in deciding whether or not to see what the running conditions will be.

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