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David Freeze: Gotta run

Running while traveling

I just read in one of the running magazines about this new race in Florida that is promoting its virtual run ahead of the real thing. You know, the one where you actually show up to put your toes on the starting line at the same time as other runners, take off with a horn or gun start and then push like crazy for your best time against real competition, hurt some along the way and find that step across the finish line to be the best one of the race?

What they want you to do is send in your $35 and they will mail you a finisher medal and a T-shirt. You don’t have to run but if you do, you can run anywhere and at any time. Would you feel OK wearing that medal or shirt? What if somebody asked about the race? I’m going to suggest a better alternative. Go do the real race! Especially if the cause was important to you. Sure it would involve some travel but what’s wrong with that?

Traveling for most of my adult life has involved running. Sometimes, the travel has been to specifically attend a race that I have trained for and focused on. At other times, I have traveled for business or pleasure and just wanted to make sure that I get my training runs in or even find a convenient local race.

Any day without running is not quite complete so I always take my shoes, shorts, socks and the appropriate shirt. Well, almost always. A trip to Cincinnati to run a half marathon shook me up when I found out the night before that I had left my running shorts at home. It was after 9 p.m. and I had no vehicle. I found a drug store open that had a pair of dri-fit shorts in my size. It was more of a swim suit bottom but I couldn’t be choosy.

In over 800 races, that’s the worst I have done. I ran a race without socks a few times and at least once in the wrong shoes.

To make traveling and running work well together, here are some things to do:

• Check the weather before you leave and make sure you’re covered on clothes. The right gloves, thickness of shirts, a dri-fit cap and such weather-related things already packed will keep you from using socks for gloves or missing out because you didn’t have a key item. I have certainly done this.

• If you are staying in an unfamiliar area, feel free to ask the staff at the hotel or motel for nearby running routes. Running stores are also good for information and there are so many online tools available now. Map My Run is one. Most running clubs have contact info posted. Every couple of months or so, someone will call or email with questions about safe and scenic running routes in Salisbury. Often, they have certain distances in mind. You can do the same when traveling to other areas.

Speaking of running clubs, I once traveled to Wisconsin, inquired about running routes, and was then invited and accepted an invitation to run with the local club members for a few days. You’ll jump ahead quickly in knowledge of the area.

• If you are planning a cross training workout in addition to or in place or your run, be sure to call ahead about a workout room or location of a nearby gym. Should unexpected bad weather force you inside, you’ll be covered for that too.

I’ve been told by some folks that they just didn’t feel comfortable running while traveling. To that, I always reply “Why not?” There is a whole new world out there. Running in a new city is always possible in some manner. I have pleasant memories of seeing portions of New York City, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio and so many more by foot. Chicago stands out because I ran the waterfront before dawn one morning and when I turned around to head back, I realized the incredibly beautiful sight of the big buildings just starting to come awake. I thought, “This is worth being out here for. Millions of people in this city and I get to see this amazing panorama.”

Bottom line, if you travel, don’t miss out on your run. Your body and mind will love it. Sometimes, plan the travel with specific running or racing in mind. Make your travel a bigger and better deal because of good running!

Check www.salisburyrowanrunners.org for lots of upcoming events!

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