Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Running while traveling

I'm finally home after a month and a half on the road.  The trip went down like this:

  1. Flew to Dublin, spent three days with a couchsurfer.
  2. Flew to England, spent a week with various friends.
  3. Flew to Germany, spent roughly two weeks with friends and in hostels, mostly in the company of Stevie, all over the country.
  4. Overnight train from Berlin to Budapest, changed to a train to Belgrade, spent three days in a hostel.
  5. Overnight train to Bulgaria.  Spent the day in Sofia, overnight train to Istanbul.
  6. Spent one week in Istanbul, five nights in a hostel and two nights with a couchsurfer.
While obviously not the focal point of my trip (beer, museums, and all things German might vie for that spot), running played a big part in the trip, and I can tell you with certainty: running while traveling is not fun.

I hate to complain about anything related to the trip.  Believe me, I feel blessed and humbled on a daily basis that I have been able to see so much of the world in my life, and continued to do so on this trip.  Being on the go, removed from my daily routine, crossing borders, listening to the strange sound of foreign tongues, meeting new people with such different views on life... these are but a few reasons I am passionate about traveling.

But keeping up any kind of fitness regime is certainly challenging.  At home I have many set routes to follow, but on the road I'm mapping out a new course every few days.  Getting lost while out running is constantly on the back of my mind.  At home, when I finish running, I can hang my clothes to dry and immediately take a shower.  On the road I might have to stuff those sweaty clothes into my pack and not take them out for twelve hours.  At home I can wear new running clothes each day and wash them when I need to.  On the road, due to attempting to pack light, I may wear the same shirt over and over, each time crusting it with even more dried sweat, and I'm never sure when I'll be able to do the next load of laundry.  At home, I have a more predictable schedule.  On the road, I'm never sure if I'll be able to fit in a run in the first place.

With a half marathon coming up in September, and a pair of marathons later this fall, it was imperative that I keep it up somehow during the trip, and despite the difficulties, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

On the night train to Bulgaria

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