Running While on the Road

We've all been there - traveling for work, or personal, reasons and squeezing in a run (outdoors or on a treadmill) or ride (usually on a stationary bike in a hotel gym) in a desperate attempt to keep your training regimen on schedule.  The Type-A / OCD person trapped inside me finds it all very inconvenient.  On the other hand it's a nice way to shake up the normal routine that can sometimes settle in.

Sometimes it's a great opportunity: Running in San Diego along the waterfront doesn't suck.  Neither does running along the Embarcadero or in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I've also done some running in London (not bad early in the day) as well as outside of london near Maidenhead / Ascot (very nice countryside).  Seattle was a nice place to run, although the day was a total cliche' and it was dumping rain the last time I ran there. 

I must say that my least favorite place to run (so far) is in February.  Having grown up in the mid-west I knew what I was getting into when that work trip came along.  Day one was a 4 mile slog outside in frigid temperatures with snow and ice blowing at me from every direction.  Subsequent morning runs were performed on the treadmill at the hotel boring myself to death.

I've been lucky on occasion and have been in a city where there was a gym that my membership here in the North-East gave me privileges.  Taking a spin class in the middle of the winter while on the road was kind of nice.

That's all work (mostly) related running.  There are times when running while on holiday comes into play, and this can also be a difficult, albeit a somewhat fun, situation.  Take last week over Thanksgiving........

My wife JL and I headed down to Barbados to avoid the "Three F's" of Thanksgiving ("forced family fun").  Not that we don't love our families, but it's kind of our thing around Thanksgiving.  We do our best to escape, just the two of us, every year over this US-only holiday.  We love Barbados, and tend to stay in roughly the same area while there.  Having been there a handful of times, I've got a nice 5.25-ish mile loop that I can run.  The trick is trying to get out early enough to avoid traffic - most of the roads aren't the most friendly to runners as there's not much shoulder to speak of.  And the heat is an issue.  Getting out at 700a still provides sun, 75F temps, and about 70+ humidity.  But then there are the hills.

Now, truth be told, I could keep it simple and run up the H1 - along the coast - either north or south and keep it pretty flat.  But it does provide a challenge of traffic and safety.  Not to say that the drivers in Barbados are bad.  My experience has been that most drivers there are very considerate of runners (and cyclists that I've seen) and give a friendly little honk as they're coming up on you, and a wave as they go past.  Or it could just be the novelty of seeing a white dude running in the heat, sweating up a storm, in short running shorts and triathlon top.  But I digress.

The loop that I usually run is great.  Hills, some flats, more hills.  The downhill section is equally as tough, as my quads are usually barking at me by the time all is said and done.  But that first mile and quarter or so.....brutal.

In the graphic above - see all those nice, pretty, dark colors in the elevation chart?  yeah, tough way to start things off.  I think I averaged about 13-14 minutes for that first mile-plus up to the first left turn on each run.  My heart rate is cooking along at a nice average of 150+.  Oy.  Hill work for the month of December?  Check.

In the end, it's a good burn.  I can cook off some calories from the rum consumption of the previous day.  And it helps facilitate a nap in the sun later that morning.

Fun stuff, running in the islands.  Tragically the past few years we've missed the Run Barbados festival.  Full marathon, half marathon, 10K, and a 5K.  Very nice looking race weekend of events.  I took a look at the course maps (just in case we decide to schedule our retreat next year to incorporate the race weekend) and thankfully they're all along the H1 - nice and flat.

Getting out on the road, while on the road, is a pain.  But it seems much less so when on holiday in the sun with the ocean just a stones throw away.