Sunday, August 10, 2014

Running on Vacation or the time I got into a Random Car!

You have your running routes.  You short runs.  Your long runs.  Your solo runs.  Your group runs.  You have your routines.  What do you do when your regular run schedule gets shaken up by a VACATION?

Well, the first part was easy.  Pack your shoes!  But Hokas are so bulky you can only take one pair!  I took the Conquests.

We have been going to m husband's hometown for about 12 years now so I have had a chance to make friends there.  So, my 37th birthday happened to fall on the friday of vacation and I wanted to run 10 miles.  Not knowing a 10 mile route, I talked my friend Debra into running it with me.

I have to say there is some beautiful scenery in this little MN town!  Just don't get caught hunting!  EEK!

10 miles done and then back home to be greeted by S & D and their homemade cupcakes for my birthday.  How cute are they?!

Next came the hard part.  We were off to a little town "up north" for the next week where I didn't know anyone.  But I still wanted to run at least 3 miles a day.  So I did.  I made sure to run on the opposite direction of traffic and stayed on the main road.  And always told my husband and one other adult (there was a lot of beer involved) where I was planning to run.  

Some gorgeous scenery here too.  You have to check out Cross Lake, MN and the Bloody Mary's at The Wharf!

There may or may not have been a bear sighting along my running route but I wasn't going to let a silly willy old stuffed with feathers bear scare me off from running!  I also used the Map my Run app to figure out distances.  So, I did a 4 miler, two 3 milers and a 2 miler while at the lake, mostly so I could justify a trip to the aforementioned Wharf.

Now came the tough part.  We were spending the next 2 days at the Mall of America without a car.  I have always heard how nice people from the Midwest are.  Boy did I put that to the test leading up to vacation.  I scoured all of the FB groups I am a part of for "nice sounding" bloggers in the Twin Cities area.  I settled on Stephanie.  

A little bit about Stephanie.  Steph is a fellow Sweat Pink and Swirlgear Ambassador.  She has been married to her husband for 10 years and they have 3 beagles.  All well and good but she has also run a marathon which means she may need to do a long run!  So I reached out to her via email and in typical Midwestern fashion, she agreed to run with me (a TOTAL stranger) during vacation.

We exchanged numbers and the night before the run, she mentioned she would be bringing her husband and the two of them would pick me up at my hotel and drive me to the nearest park to chop me into 6 million pieces to run.  Say what?!  You want me to get in to a totally strange car with people I don't know??  My husband seemed to think this was totally normal!

Stephanie and Chad picked me up (after I took pictures of their license plate number) and we went to Lake Nokomis to do our run.  She told me later into our run that she brought her husband because she didn't know what kind of person would get in a car with a total stranger.  LOL!

Stephanie is now one of my favorite people in the universe!  She is just as sweet and kind and big hearted as the stereotype.  We chatted the entire 2 + hours we ran together.  About everything.  From blogging to dogs to husbands to coffee.  We talked about her first experience with the Twin Cities Marathon (which she is doing again this year)!

And just as wonderful as Stephanie is her husband Chad who is also one of my new favorite people ever.  He has excellent taste in shoes (Hokas) and visors (Headsweats).

And it was fun to run a new city with a local.  She would actually stop me and tell me where to take pictures, like this one of the skyline.  NICE!

And as a fellow blogger, she understands the importance of actions shots and volunteered to take some for me.

So what did I learn?  Here are my tips for Running on Vacation:

1.  Pack your favorite shoes and if not your favorite shoes, your second favorite shoes.  And wear them on the plane.  You want to be able to run even if your luggage gets lost.

2.  Pack your familiar nutrition or hydration.  I had my Nuun and my Quest bars with me for this purpose.  I forgot my Vega pre workout energizer.  Don't be like me!

3.  Bring your iTunes and your headphones.  You don't want to be looking at a 10 mile run on the road without tunes.

4.  Same as #4.  Bring your Garmin or whatever you use to keep track.

5.  Pack a pair of pants or capris or shorts you can wear a few times without getting GROSS!  I highly recommend Spandits for this purpose.  They were just as dry after my run as before.

6.  Same goes with your sports bra.  Pack one that can be worn a couple times without washing like the Panache bra.

7.  And socks.  Don't forget socks.  I would even throw in a pair of compression socks for recovery like the super awesome ones from Crazy Compression.

8.  Keep an open mind if you are a social runner like me.  Contact the local running store to your vacation site.  Contact the local Moms Run this Town group.  Stalk Research bloggers.  But tell sober loved ones where you are going.  

9.  Use Map My Run to see well travelled routes in the vacation site.

10.  Have fun!

You have to read about Stephanie's Marathon experience.  You can read about it here or watch her story here.

Have you ever met up with a stranger on a vacation to get some miles in?  Do you trust strangers?  What do you think of Stephanie & Chad's marathon story?  I hope you think they are as incredible as I do!

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom


  1. Packing for success is always key and I love your tips but did I really read that there is a sports bra you can wear multiple times before you wash?!? I NEED to check that out- I am all about being lazy with the laundry :)

    1. I am sure people around me didn't think you could wear it again without washing. Ha ha! But it didn't get all gross. I definitely was okay wearing it 2 days in a row!

  2. What a great story! I am still laughing! Mid-westerners are the best (as long as you don't drink their beer!) You gave some really good tips about finding friends in towns you are visiting. Now you know we are all calling you if we ever come to your town!!!

    1. I would love to be a running guide!!!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. No I haven't. What kind is it? IPA? Lager?

  3. I am headed to MN in 4 days to do Ragnar with 11 TOTAL STRANGERS. Like you, I am hoping they are somewhat normal (but then again, do normal people even Ragnar?!!) and safe! :)

    1. How fun! Tell me more. How did you get hooked up with this group?

  4. LOL! People ARE so nice! And I love love my pants too!