“City to city, I’m-a runnin’ my rhyme,” Beastie Boys
You may recall that I travel for work and since late last summer, I try to get a run in wherever I go on these business trips. Last year I made 10 trips and managed nine runs. I missed Detroit. Not because I forgot to pack the Kevlar body armor, but because I got sick on the flight. I came down with the flu or somesuch.
It’s 2016, it’s travel season and I have been running on the road again. No pun intended. I think running in cities across the country is a great way to take in the scenery and peep out the local gentry. Thanks to the luck of the draw I have gone running in Nashville three times in the last 10 months – last November, April and just over a week ago. Instead of waiting for this cycle to end and detail my travel running then, I thought I would catch you up now – especially after my lunacy this past weekend in Baltimore.
So, the 2016 on the road running began in Nashville in April. After a night of way too much Scotch, I went running with three colleagues and I brought up the rear. Unfortunately, I don’t see a record of this run on the Nike Running Club App – formerly known as Nike+ Running. Sidebar, I don’t know why Nike had to go and mess with this app. It was perfectly fine the way it was. Odd I didn’t post it on Facebook either. Regardless, it was just over three miles and painfully slow. It was on the edge of downtown Nashville and once around Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, and pretty close to the same route I took last November. I’ll get to this year’s Nashville run in a minute.
I don’t mind running in some weather. I don’t mind heat usually. I keep wondering how many times I am going to go running in 85-90-degree heat. I don’t seem to learn my lesson. However, humidity is a weather classification unto itself. I live a fairly dry, temperate climate. Heat + humidity and I do not get along.
I went to New Orleans last month, one of my favorite places on Earth. After a late night on Bourbon Street (you don’t close Bourbon Street, Bourbon Street closes you), I ventured out for a run in the mist and light drizzle along the Riverwalk. Last August I ran in Minneapolis and crossed the Stone Arch Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River. This time, I ran along the mighty Mississip’ at the other end – kinda neat. I managed 3.05 miles in 32:42 in 85-degree heat, humidity and rain. Fog and the mist obscured the river, and some of the Riverwalk was blocked off because of renovations, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I earned my alligator sausage, gumbo, crawfish Étoufée at the Gumbo Store, and beignets and café au lait at Café Du Monde.
This fall’s trip to Nashville was interesting. I stayed at the Opryland Resort instead of downtown. I mapped a route, which I thought was the path of an Opryland 5K, but it was blocked off a half a mile in and I had to improvise on the fly. I barely left the hotel grounds but I still managed three miles in 31:13 in 86-degree heat, and yes, the dreaded humidity. Damn the southeast.
Last weekend was a bit more eventful. Baltimore. I stayed at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards. I have always enjoyed Baltimore going back to my days writing for a rag newspaper covering the Canadian Football League’s Baltimore Stallions. I mapped a route out to Ft. McHenry, which would have been six miles round-trip. A bit ambitious and it would mark my longest road trip run. I usually stick to three-four miles. I am a bit skittish running unfamiliar routes.
I found Ft. McHenry just fine, although my route was exactly the one I had plotted. And, yes, it was raining. I asked Siri to plot a course back to my hotel and my iPhone just didn’t seem to want to find it or didn’t understand my voice commands. However, I was headed back in the right direction. I made sure to stay across the street from the biker bar/funeral parlor (funeral in progress) I almost blundered into on the way out to Ft. McHenry and got to a Marriott pretty much unmolested. I knew I was at the wrong one. I asked the concierge for some help and he pointed me in the right direction. By this point I had traveled six miles already. He said my hotel wasn’t far, only about a mile. I told him, “I have another mile in me.” Off I went. I got confused along the way and I stopped and divined the actual address for my hotel. I dropped into the maps app and finished my run strong, only stopping a few times for traffic. All told, I ran eight miles. Eight freaking miles. My previous long run was 6.6 miles not all that long ago.
I enjoyed running in Baltimore, I just hadn’t planned on such a distance. I ended up walking seven additional miles and I paid for it later. My stiff and sore body didn’t have trouble falling asleep. So, I accomplish the longest run of my life because I got lost. Figures.
I ran eight miles and walked seven in one of America’s inner cities and I didn’t get shot. Go figure.
So far I have had the opportunity to run in two cities I have never run in before, and in three locations new to me. I have seven or eight more trips left this year, including a few cities I have yet to run in (plus a few repeats). My eight-mile run has me thinking about finally trying for that half-marathon I’d like to accomplish.
I am enjoying this endeavor, it’s a lot of fun. Now I just need to run with a bit more confidence and speed when I am gallivanting around the country.