I know that I have a lot of followers who are straight up runners. And lately my blog has been all about cycling and triathlon.
So runners, this post is for you.
The truth is that I started as a runner. Of the last 20 years, I have probably been on some sort of regular running schedule for 10 of them. It wasn't until last year that I bought my first serious bike, and it wasn't until January of this year that I officially declared myself a bike nerd.
Though I am obsessed with cycling, my most enjoyable workouts are still runs. Because when you run and it's on, it's ON. I've had some great rides, but none of them have yet achieved the sheer awesomeness of a good run.
Over the last 20 years, I've run in some pretty cool places. Here are the top 5 (so far):
5. Bradley Palmer State Park, Ipswich MA.
I'm originally from Massachusetts. So in a running phase I went through between 1992-1994, Bradley Palmer State Park was where I went to get my trail running on. I wouldn't call 92-94 my most prolific period for running. Even though the run was only a 4 mile loop, there was a steep hill about half-way through that I could never quite summit without walking.
My mom still lives in the area, so about a year and a half ago when I was visiting I decided to try it again. I figured that since I was in the best shape I had been in for years, I could knock this one off pretty easily. Well, I was wrong - It ended up taking 3 separate visits to get it done. The first time I sprained my ankle. The second time I got lost (lost?). I finally got it done a few months ago.
4. Central Park, New York, NY
In 1998 I was living in New York, and in another running phase. I worked at 23rd Street and Broadway, so after work a co-worker and I would to take the 6 train up to 59th Street and cut over to Central Park. We'd then run up Central Park East to 72nd Street, cut into the park, run around the reservoir, run back down Central Park West, cut back to Broadway, and run down Broadway to 23rd. One night, we got caught in a really bad thunderstorm. I remember it was raining so hard that traffic was at a standstill. I ran through Times Square down the middle of Broadway soaking wet and laughing my ass off. Good times.
3. Chiswick/Kew Gardens, London England.
I lived in London for the first half of 2002. To keep up some modicum of exercise, I got into the habit of packing up my running stuff in the morning, and then running the 3 or so miles home from the office. This route took me straight down Chiswick High Street. With the amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, coupled with the fact I could never get it together to look right instead of left when crossing streets, I'm surprised I didn't get killed. But there was a undeniable energy derived from running like a madman down the High Street during rush hour. On the weekends I would run in Kew Gardens, which was about a mile up the road from me.
2. Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA.
I'd be remiss if I left my new home town off the list. There's 10 miles of pedestrian path along Huntington Beach. You get the sand, the ocean, and a nice breeze. I ran there tonight. Though I normally prefer the off season, the US Open Of Surfing is in town so there was plenty of quality people watching to be had around the pier. All you runners - don't forget your running shoes when you come to California. There are running spots like this everywhere.
1. Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Picture this - 6 miles of paved sea wall around a peninsula where on one side the views are of mountains plunging straight into the sea and on the other you get the best city skyline view I've ever seen. Did I mention that between miles 3 and 5 you run with a sheer cliff to the left of the path and the ocean to the right? Add the 2 miles in and out of the park through a marina in Coal Harbor and you have the best 8 mile run in the world. I always run this route off pace because there is too much to look at.