Does anyone else just love learning about a new city through running? It’s one of my favorite things to do when traveling. It gives me some time to myself without an agenda, and freedom in new space. Some of my most memorable runs are out-of-town explorations, particularly those that I’ve experienced in San Francisco, Sonoma, Miami, and Nashville.
We’ve traveled to San Francisco quite a bit as Ernest’s remote employment is based there. While this is perhaps the most challenging city to run in (hellooooo, hills!), I’ve discovered some scenic obsessions that make this one of my favorite cities to visit and to run in. The “Christmas house” I found during a visit in November was quite a treat, as was the time I literally stumbled upon a fantastic view of Alcatraz.
Sonoma was a unique run. I was training for a half marathon and needed to log 10 miles in the middle of wine country. I was nervous about the winding roads and finding a way to manage this mileage in an unknown area, but I quickly found myself in a nature preserve. This was one of my first cry-runs out of sheer breathtaking beauty. I climbed up out of a valley and found myself looking out over vineyards and a serene nature scene – an overwhelming surprise that brought about a flood of emotions. This run was unforgettable.
Miami and Nashville provided less exploration for me, since I knew that I would just be running along the water in Miami and I already knew plenty about my true love, Nashville. That said, Miami was one of the most beautiful runs I’ve ever gone on; the morning sun was starting to heat the day, and the characters along the beach made for great people watching. Nashville… those few miles in the somewhat gloomy, warm morning there are still so vivid in my memory, it feels like it was yesterday instead of a year ago. I’m in love with the way that city makes me feel (whether I’m drinking moonshine and PBR in a traditional country bar, or running)! I can’t say much more.
I think running through a new city can really teach you about the place and the culture that you’re being introduced to in an exciting way. And when people scoff at you for planning on exerting yourself “too much” during vacation, just remember that you’re doing something you love that isn’t work–it’s fun and it could even make your vacation better.