It used to be that when I traveled away from home it was a (poor) excuse for me to quit the exercise for a few days. I always had the good intentions and often packed the gear but it rarely saw the light of day for the whole vacation! And is it just me, or are hotel beds sooooo much more comfy than your own?! 😉
But in the last year I’ve turned myself around and now as I look back I realise that many of my favourite moments of my vacation breaks this last year have been exploring and adventuring around a new place on my runs.
When I run I sense so much more. I see more, I hear more, I smell more – I soak it all in and experience more. I think even if I’ve spent the day strolling around a city with friends or family I don’t always activate all those senses in the same way – I think because when I’m with others I’m probably chatting away or perhaps noticing things because others have pointed them out – I’m not always seeing things for myself.
Even though I’m running I notice more than when I’m walking and I stop and enjoy the views and sights and take photos. My vacation run pace averages are lousy because I’m stopping so frequently! But I love being out there. When I’m at home I have a handful of commonly used running routes and I know all their distances and variations off by heart – if I take this extra loop I can tack another half km onto my distance….but when you’re running unfamiliar territory you have no concept of distance – and I often run further with less effort because I’m so caught up in the moment and the sightseeing to notice the time or the distance!
For me it’s the best way to sightsee. Because it’s just ME out there. Alone with my thoughts and senses. With a quick internet search you can usually scope out a rough route – I’ve used www.mapmyrun.com for this – but local running stores and online forums and even the hotel front desk can often help. And then I’m off – leaving my sleepy family back in that comfy bed! Sure I’ve got a little lost from time to time, but isn’t that half the fun?!