Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Where to run?

I’m running again. Yes, running, not just jogging. I still start out jogging very slowly but I managed a 50 min. progression run yesterday. On a soft track in Lunar Racers, mind you.

This morning I did my first road run and felt no pain from the injury. What I did feel is fat and out of shape. Oh my. Lots of Biopren (don't google it, it's wrong) to get rid of. I’m notoriously bad at losing weight. I’m eating fairly healthy but likely too much, especially at night. Now, mind you, don’t picture a fat blob and most “normal” people would call me “skinny”. But you are runners so you know what I mean.

Running in Fajardo, Puerto Rico is a good reminder of what a great place Central Park is to run in. Listen up everyone in NYC: Central Park is awesome, even if you run there all the time. Yes, there are better places to run. I’ve run in various places in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, France among others. 

The worst place was likely Panama City Beach, Florida. One main road to run along.

In Cairo, Egypt I felt completely out of place. After three small loops around the hotel at 6am, I bagged it. Could have been just me but I don’t hold me own when stared at.

Italy is a country for cyclists. Tons of small roads to ride on. Most areas, however, lack running trails or dirt roads to (safely, no dogs) run on. So you end up running on roads which surprises drivers who are not use to that. Don’t expect to be given much or any space. I’d put Spain in the same bracket.

Ireland’s biggest - you might argue only - downside is the miserable weather. Always cool, often rainy. But that’s its strength when it comes to running because the temperatures are ideal for running year round.

Nothing has ever come close to running in Germany and Switzerland. The reason: no matter where you run, you will always find a dirt road or agriculture traffic only road to run on. And not just one, a net of hundreds of them. Running there is so good, I only started to understand when I started traveling as a runner in my early 20s.

So, Fajardo? The roads are “American style” which means they are made for cars. Not fun to run with traffic. And it’s dangerous. Sideways are scarce because walking is not high on anyone’s agenda (why walk if you can drive?). Two days ago we drove to a restaurant half a mile away because it’s too dangerous to walk along the road with a stroller.

Thankfully there is a beautiful track. And it’s used plenty by the locals. Each morning you get about 100 people. 95% of them walk on the track. Reminds me of Riverbank track in Harlem.

But then again, it’s 24C at sunrise so how bad can it be?