For the past 12 days I have been traveling in Europe on vacation. Before I left Memphis, TN I decided that I would run while I was on vacation. That meant I had to pack at least 6 days of running clothes in my carry-on bag. My rule is that one must be able to handle their own luggage without assistance and with several trains on this trip the lighter/smaller the better. People think that I am crazy for not only trying to pack my stuff in a carry-on but also to even think that I would actually workout while on vacation is insane.
In my standard 21″ roller board I was able to pack:
2 pair of shorts
1 pair of jeans in addition to the pair I wore on the plane
1 pair of pants
2 pair of capris
12 tops of various types
5 workout shorts
10 workout tops
Socks, underwear, bras, sport bras
1 pair of sandals
1 pair of Toms
Saucony running shoes
In my other carry-on would be all the other stuff including an air book that I really only brought to charge my UP band, iPad, book, yes I have several on my iPad as well (but never hurts to have a back up plan), camera, and a few other things yet.
Our first stop was Zurich, Switzerland. This was added to the trip because I needed to fly in or out of some other city besides Prague and I was unable to do that through Budapest on my Delta Miles. By the way, if you have never been to Zurich it is the most expensive city in the world and makes New York City look like a bargain. The hotel we stayed in was $700/night when I checked the price, however I used Hyatt points. For dinner one evening we had 2 club sandwiches and 2 bottles of water which was approximately $78.00 USD – when I see my credit card bill I will know for certain. Now, I must say it was probably the BEST chicken club sandwich I have had, however…
We only had 2 days in Switzerland. The first day (arrived at 8:30am) we spent in Zurich and the second day we hopped a bus to Lucerne. I did not run the day of arrival after all I only slept about 3 hours on the plane and I did run 8+ miles the morning of my departure. Day 2 (Friday) was a whole other story, I decided to get up at 5:30am and head to the gym. I got in a 3.5 mile on the treadmill and a 20 minute bike ride. The gym is nice as it is part of a spa, but it was like a steam room itself – it was hotter than any gym I had ever been in. Day 3 again I got up around 5:30am or before this time to take a run through the city as I now had a pretty good lay of the land here. The Park Hyatt is ideally situated so I headed out of the hotel towards the park area around Lake Zurich. Early in the morning the streets are very quiet as is the park; It was pretty much me, the street sweepers, and a few skinny dippers. I have to admit I was a bit jealous of the skinny dippers. After running around the park area I still felt like running further so I just hit the city street. Even though Zurich is certainly a business center it still is quite quiet and thus it is an enjoyable run through the streets. Zurich reminds me a bit of San Francisco in the fact that they twist & turn all around and nothing seems to run North-South or East-West. I did a total of 6.18 miles total plus some strength exercises in the sauna. At this point I am regretting that I didn’t run through the city earlier, but it was an awesome birthday present to myself. The next 10 1/2 hours will be spent on the train to Budapest.
Sunday, we are in Budapest and since we arrived about 10pm, I didn’t have a clue about the city. We were in the Marriott which was on the Danube River in the center of the city and I have to admit, it was love at first sight. If you have never been to Budapest, I must tell you it is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, especially at night! It could possibly be the most romantic city I have ever visited if you were with the right person. I typically don’t desire to go back to a city as there are so many places I have yet to see, however, I am strongly thinking of trying to go back to Budapest next year. In the meantime, I have about 10 books to read regarding the city because I now want to know more about their history and the people. Sunday, I hit the gym again and split my time again between the treadmill & the bike. Since I am not really good at converting KPH to MPH I have to estimate my pace based on feel. I did about 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill a little over 6 miles on the bike.
(Before my next trip to Europe I will be able to convert something other than 5k, 10k, 15k to miles in my head.)
Monday it was back to the streets at 5:30am. I love to run scenic bridges, so I ran across a couple twice this morning in Budapest. It was to get up to 100 degrees in Budapest this day, so even very early in the morning it was quite humid and warm, but there always seemed to be a nice breeze thankfully. Again I am surprised at the quietness of the city in the morning. I am also taken back by the lack of fellow runners on the street as I only see a couple other runners and a few cyclists. I manage to get in 5.42miles in this morning. I tend to runner faster outside naturally than I do on the treadmill – I understand doing this during races, but not certain as to why it happens on an ordinary run. However, when I am out running in all these cities, I often pause to take some photos, so it does tend to skew my run times.
By now, my mom thinks I am crazy so I actually take the next 2 days off. But mind you, on average we walked 8 miles a day. My 2nd off day we were on a train all day to Prague and I am regretting not running this morning. The train ride is 7-8 hours which made me admit to my mom that I much preferred planes to trains. I let her determine our mode of transportation once we arrived in Europe, it was my job to get us there and back and take care of the hotels. She had to agree with me.
We stay at the Hilton Old Town for the first two nights, which is super convenient to the main tourist area there. Back to the gym, running 6 miles on Thursday then 3.5 on Friday, while also hitting the rowing machine and bike. We then change hotels and move across the river to the Red & blue design hotel, which does not have a gym, so back to the streets I go on Saturday. In Prague there are tons of cobblestone streets, which make running outside a bit less than ideal. I run 4.69 miles running across the Charles Bridge into Old Town Center and back, also running a bit out of the way to locate the Lennon Wall. Today we are on our way home and I decided not to run today and again regretting it because I have been sitting on this plane for 6 hours so far, only about 6 more to go.
As I have mentioned in several of my previous posts, I do most of my running in the gym on a treadmill, this serves a couple purposes for me. For one it controls my pace and second it saves my ankle from some of the pounding. However, I loved my morning runs through each of these cities and it will be something I will try and continue to do on my travels. The cities are all so peaceful in the early morning and I saw things that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Maybe I should try to run through my neighborhood in Memphis again – just didn’t find it to be quite the same. It was great alone time and it was one of my favorite parts of my trip.
So while I didn’t run as much as I would have if I were home, I feel pretty good about running 8 out of 12 days while on vacation and now I must get back focused on my half marathon training. I signed up for the Surftown Half up in Westerly, RI on September 15th.