The sightseeing run

One side effect of my attempt at a running streak is that I take my running shoes and clothes with me when I travel. And often, that means I wind up exploring some interesting places. Not always — I have seen the insides of a lot of hotel gyms — but I’ve also been able to turn business travel into something with a bit more sightseeing.

On Wednesday, I gave two talks in Savannah, Georgia. I went on a riverboat cruise with the group the night before — hence that photo — so I saw some of the riverfront. I woke up a little after 6 and pulled on my running clothes to go see what else I could see.

The first part of the run was not promising. I started off running along the river, because there were a lot of little shops there, plus a few parks and the like. But the riverfront was really not well set up for running. The sidewalk would disappear, so I’d need to run on the cobblestone streets, and the whole area stretched for less than a mile before disappearing into a construction zone. Possibly because of these problems, there weren’t enough runners to make the area feel not deserted.

So, I was not thinking I was going to have a great run. But then I turned up Bull street, and started running through Savannah proper. This was much better. The magnolia trees were shady, and oh, the Spanish moss! It was hanging everywhere, and pretty much every intersection was a park. The old houses were spruced up to be bed and breakfasts, reminding me that I should re-read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I wound up running all the way up to a large park at the edge of town, and back down. I did 4.7 miles, and had to hoof it to get showered in time for my 8 a.m. sound check, but it was totally worth it.

It’s kind of a pain to bring running shoes on overnight trips, which is why in the past I wouldn’t have done it. But they do fit in my carry-on bag. And they make business travel so much more fun.

12 thoughts on “The sightseeing run

  1. I’ve had a long break from running regularly but this is why I’m determined to get back into it. I’ve had some lovely mornings before conferences, on work trips or while on vacation, running along beaches, rivers or parks in a new location, seeing parts of the city I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and starting the day feeling fresh, invigorated and virtuous (instead of hitting snooze before a day of being inside and eating stodgy conference food). I started a couch to 5k program yesterday so this is a nice reminder of why I want to keep going!

  2. yes! I love going for runs at conferences, and much prefer going outside if I can! Often it’s the only burst of local flavor I get if I’m otherwise stuck in the hotel for meetings/seminars.
    I also now LOOOVE getting to run anywhere cool (in temperature) because it’s such a novelty and I feel so fast and freeeee!

  3. Love Savannah, though not as much as Charleston, where my husband and I did Med school. One of my classmates fell while running in med school on the old cobble/paved sidewalks and injured her pinky so bad she needed surgery to repair. And she was going into Ob so needed full function for her own career! It never regained full mobility but she says she only needs the pinky on that hand to hold the suture thread in the OR so t all worked out. But living in Charleston turned me into a runner despite the treacherous roads. The old city is like nothing else in the US. Savannah is like a mini taste of it when you go through the old squares

  4. We lived in Savannah for about a year and a half – I loved dropping my son off at his preschool downtown and running around Forsyth Park (probably the one you mention – it has a big fountain) before heading home to work. Running while traveling is a great way to see more of a place and get some alone/down time to clear your head!

  5. YES!! my all time favorite travel run was in Savannah.

    Travel running tip – I pack my flats and wear my running shoes for the plane. Even if it looks stupid with whatever I’m wearing. Then I change when I get to my rental car. Bonus, it’s also much more comfortable and a godsend if you have to run to catch a connection.

    1. Back when I was both running and travelling a lot more than I am now, I started to transition to more minimalist runnning shoes for just this reason. Even switching from my brooks adrenaline to brooks pure flow seemed to make a big difference to my suitcase weight

  6. There are two great apps I reccomend for running when you are traveling. One is WalkJogRun, which will bring you along safe routes in the city you are in, and the other is RunGo, which will guide you past some interesting landmarks of the city. I love them both and they motivate me to run more when I travel!

  7. This is one of my favorite ways to explore a new place. Get a much better feel when you’re exploring on foot. I also pack workout clothes when I travel even if I’m only going to be gone for a day. I’m one of those people that needs to follow my routine as much as possible, and it’s way harder to get back into the habit of exercising if I take time off than if I squeeze it in to my schedule regardless of where I am.

  8. Yes! I just did the same thing last week when I was taking a course at Harvard. I got out of bed at 6 am (4 am MT where I’m from!) and ran for an hour through empty, quiet Cambridge. I took my phone and got great photos. Now I plan on doing the early morning sightseeing run wherever I go!

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