Amsterdam, that is. Or London, for that matter.
But I’m back from a 10-day work trip that saw me on my feet as much as 10 miles in a day despite taking various modes of transportation, including bus, boat, train and tram. I didn’t get on a bike or skates, but I did get on a jet plane and snuck in a few short runs.
Work and the early morning darkness cramped my running style in both locations, so I had to keep my runs to 5K-ish distance.
Amsterdam was by far my favorite, in large part because of its evident diversity in everything from its people to its food to its buildings. While running or walking around the city, I heard just about every language spoken, including many who clearly had a Spain-Spanish accent. Because I spent a whole week here, I also found it easy to navigate the area immediately around our hotel, so I didn’t get lost (too badly) on my runs.
I made sure to stick to well-lit areas with people walking or riding their bikes on designated lanes (much unlike most Michigan roads), which meant that I stayed close to our hotel, the Kimpton DeWitt. But because the hotel is so close to the Central Station, there were lots of people around and I felt safe running by myself.
London was special in its own way, with its museum-looking structures as my backdrop, but the sidewalks were noticeably dirtier and I saw a lot more homeless people sleeping in front of stores or on park benches. There was also very little vegetation with a few small trees here and there. I tried to run to — and around — Regent’s Park because it was recommended by a fellow Bib Rave Pro, but Google maps failed me and I never did find it.
My hotel, the Nadler Soho, was near the Soho Square, but the park was way too small to run there. I did get to walk all over town and even got to enjoy a Diwali festival, street artists and Chinatown. A highlight was the beefeater giving us a tour at the Tower of London, which holds the Crown Jewels and showcases torture devices used throughout history.
I tried to pack as little as possible, making sure that I could wear each item multiple times, including my running gear. I stuck socks and a sports bra inside my running shoes (which took an inordinate amount of space, but were worth having), and brought just two tanks, a Skirt Sports skirt and capris. With temperatures in the low 50s, I was able to run with just my new Bolero reflective jacket. I had to wash all of the items in the hotel sink at least once, but I was glad to have enough gear for multiple outings.
For a trip I knew would entail long hours, I am grateful I got to run as much as I did. Should I ever get such an opportunity again, I’ll be sure to plan ahead better, including looking up routes and, if possible, finding a running group I can join for longer runs.
In fact, had I done that in the first place, I could have run the Amsterdam Marathon since I was already trained for the distance. I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of that before heading to Europe for the first time. Learn from my mistakes, chicos y chicas!
Have you run internationally while on vacation or on a work trip? How do you manage to find the time? How did you choose your route? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)