June 21 2017
Not everyone has the luxury or desire to run during what should be downtime. We’ve listed our best tips for running on vacation and then
I’m in Santa Cruz, California this week to cover the XTERRA Pacific Championship off-road triathlon. I’m also here to catch up with old friends, as I was lucky enough to call this beachside haven home for the better part of two decades. I spent some time in Wilder Ranch State Park this morning, and the memories of the hundreds – if not thousands – of runs I’ve done on those trails came at me in a torrential and wonderful flood.
Isn’t it incredible how memories can be so firmly connected to a place? Wilder is where my now ex-husband and I shared our first date (a run) and where a year and a half later he proposed. It’s where I sought comfort and solace when my father passed away – I even remember the exact emotionally charged songs I was listening to at specific points on the trail as I simultaneously ran and sobbed, saying my own sort of goodbye. I trained for multiple marathons and two Ironman triathlons on the dirt fire roads and challenging singletrack trails in Wilder. Over the years I saw bobcats, coyotes, wild boar, snakes and even once a majestic mountain lion (I was thrilled, if petrified). More than anything, I spent countless moments being in the moment in that place – enjoying the pure pleasure of running on a hot and dusty path, sun beating on my shoulders and ocean air filling my lungs. It’s a magical spot indeed, and though I moved away several years ago it remains one of my favorite places to run on the entire planet. Refreshing my memories with a return visit was pure joy.
Where is your favorite place to run – and why? Is it a place that makes you feel at home, at peace, in touch with yourself? Is it a place that calms you, providing an escape from the pace of an ever-frenzied schedule? I’m reminded, having visited Wilder Ranch once more, of the importance of finding a spot near my current home where I feel equally whole and happy. I know it’s out there.