Have Shoes Will Travel

I got started running by signing up to walk a marathon raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I hadn’t ever thought about doing something like that before. The training was scary and hard, but I was bound to take it seriously and finish the race because my husband said, “You can’t do a marathon!” I did it and was so proud of myself. Then I had some friends who wanted to do one, too. Only someplace we had never been before. And I wanted to do some running and not plod along the whole time. That was the beginning of a marvelous new hobby (or obsession depending on whether you are talking to my husband).

Thanks to my interest I have raced in Nashville, Memphis, San Francisco, Phoenix, and smaller towns and races in between. The funniest named race was called “The Huff & Puff on the Bluff 9K”. I understood why it was called this about halfway through the race! I have seen the cities and towns differently than I would have if I had just went as a regular sightseer. And I have enjoyed carbo loading in some great restaurants. You can always pick out the first time racers the next day by their unique approach to steps and sitting down then standing up. The hamstrings are very cranky!

If you decide to try racing in locations far from home do some homework about the area first. If it has climate, terrain, and temperatures very different from your usual run you’ll need to know and make adjustments to your training. If it is very hilly and you live in a flatter locale you will naturally need to find some hills to train on. If you live in high humidity and you plan to race in the desert, you will need to prepare by going into the race well hydrated and take in water at every water stop.

The number one mistake you can make in racing is running in anything you haven’t trained in first. So if you plan to travel and race, make sure you pack your normal running gear. It is pretty horrifying to travel a long distance to a race and discover you have forgotten to pack your running shoes! If you aren’t sure about the climate, be sure to pack gear for various weather extremes. And if you plan on trying some things on the menu that you have never eaten before, do it after the race and not before. Or you might have a pretty unhappy stomach on race morning.

If you think it through and use common sense you can have a great time racing while enjoying new, exciting places outside the beaten path. You might even find a new favorite race and new favorite place you’ll want to visit many times! So be brave and lace up your running shoes. There’s no telling where you could go!