B-Boy Running Adventures Continue with New Spots and Old Stomping Grounds

IMG_1137The fall work travel continues and so do the B-Boy Running Adventures. Some of this travel involves annual trips to certain cities, and some trips to either new cities, or places I haven’t been to in a long time. Dallas, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. are the latest three.

As many times as I have been to Dallas, I have never gone running there. It was technically Irving, but I enjoyed running around Las Colinas. The weather wasn’t too hot and I got a good three miles done in 31:17. The ritzy suburban neighborhood near the Byron Nelson golf course was pleasant enough. The gym at the Four Seasons was a sight to behold. You can actually join this state-of-the-art gym with the fitness facility, and the tennis and the racquetball and the swimming and the fancy-ass AntiGravity Aerial Yoga nobody has ever heard of, provided you already own a small country (golf is extra). I’m not sure about the underground labyrinth I had to traverse to get there. I kept expecting to turn a corner and find a Minotaur asking to see my room key.

Nashville is a recurring theme, I have gone running there four times in the past three years, the last two took place at Gaylord Opryland. I had previously run just off Broadway and around Nissan Stadium, but the past two trips, I stayed at Opryland. Last year, I didn’t really check out the hotel property, but this year I did. Oh my, what a hotel. I’ve never seen anything like it. From the built-in radio station, 650 AM WSM, (where Pat Sajak once worked) to the conservatory and numerous bars, restaurants, and boutiques, it’s almost a self-contained city. It was a workout just trying to find the gym and you definitely needed a map, or GPS, or a Sherpa. I thought I was trying to find the Indiana Jones ride at Disney.

I ran by the Grand Old Opry by day, and walked by it lit up at night as I returned to the hotel after seeing Stephen King’s “It” at the local toomanyscreensplex. My pace and run time were phenomenal. I was really surprised. Last year, I had trouble plotting a route. There is an official 5K route that runs a loop around the hotel, Opryland itself and a nearby Bass Pro Shops-anchored spend-all-your-money-in-one-day shopping complex. Without markings, the route didn’t make much sense. But this year, I managed a better route and a better time. A full 5K in 29:36. I really am back to my 5K race pace. Losing approximately 20 pounds over the last 12 weeks or so has made a difference.

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My last assignment in the United States Navy was at the Washington Navy Yard. I got out of the Navy 20 years ago this past July. I have been back a few times, most recently 2005. The only time I ever went running there was to pass a physical fitness test. I wasn’t much of a runner back then, and I was a pack-a-day smoker.

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I’ve always known that the National Mall was a great place to go running and I found out for myself that knowledge was indeed correct. I got three miles in with a time of 30:43. My first mile was 9:01, blistering fast for me. I ran out of gas due to the heat and too many traffic lights so I couldn’t maintain that pace. But the sights were fantastic.

I started down 9th Street NW and headed for the Capitol building. I turned right on the National Mall and ran from there to near the Washington monument before breaking back toward 9th Street NW. Although it was late morning, it wasn’t too crowded.

Here comes the soapbox rant. I don’t know how it is where you live, but almost everyone I see when I am out running out walking gives a nod, a wave, a tip of the cap, a verbal greeting, something. Washington, D.C., runners are freaking rude. There were plenty of runners out and I got one acknowledgement, one.

IMG_1231Maybe they didn’t get the e-mail.

Okay, the soapbox is put away, for now.

Of the last three running spots, D.C. was the only one in “town.” I thoroughly enjoyed all three for different reasons. Nashville because I improved the route and my time, Dallas because it was new experience, and Washington because it was a new experience on my old stomping grounds.

I’ll be in Denver again soon and I am looking forward to revisiting a city I have a new appreciation for after more than a decade of loathing. The weather will be better too and I won’t have to pack the cold weather gear like I have the last few times.

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