One reason I enjoy being in running shape is that when I visit a new area, I can traverse it by foot. Granted, there are certain cities—New York, DC, Madrid, to name a few—that require NO running to cover serious ground by foot, as walking/subway is the best way to see the sights, but running delivers something altogether different. (<--That's not a link, I just wanted to emphasize it. Fancy that, eh?)
On our road trip last summer [HOW was that over a year ago?!], Z and I made sure to run at every stop along our journey, and I think that was one of my favorite aspects of the trip. Whether along the streets of Charleston, through the woods in New Jersey, or beside the river in Philly, running in those places gave us a sense of the locale, a piece of its personality. Running allows me to see a city from a wholly unique perspective, and somehow gives me a [pretty much unwarranted] sense of ownership or something, like I'm not like every other tourist or something.
Seven miles through Washington, D.C., confirmed this conviction.
A week ago, I was exploring the area of town around my host's house, and on the way to Dupont Circle happened upon Pacer's Running Store. Outside the store, a sign read, "4-6mi group fun-run, Tuesdays 7pm," and I thought…Why not?
|I didn't take this picture of Dupont Circle's park, but I did sit under that very tree before the group run...|
The fact that I had only successfully run ≥4 miles twice in the last month only briefly blipped across my mind as I committed to the adventure.
About 20 people showed up for the run, which took us ~5 miles through Dupont Circle, across the P-Street Bridge, along the waterfront, up the 75 "Exorcist stairs", and through Georgetown back to the store.
The group strung out quite a bit, which required me to run at a pretty good clip in order to keep in sight the few shirts I recognized among the sea of regular DC runners. I made it back to the store, some neat Washington sights logged in my memory, and thankful for the little bit of fitness I had built up.
With the mile jog to-and-fro the storefront included, my >seven-mile run was an excellent and completely unanticipated addition to my trip. Wonder what foreign[to me] city I'll run across next…