I was driving to work yesterday thinking about my latest work trip to Boston when the genesis for this post hit me. Running has allowed me to experience a city more than I ever would have if I wasn't a runner. When I look at my trip to Boston as a whole, if I wasn't a runner I wouldn't have seen more than my hotel, the convention center and the couple of blocks we walked to a restaurant for dinner. I know this was a work trip and NOT a vacation so I didn't expect to spend any time "site seeing", but when you are a runner all things are possible.
A city like Boston with so much history I was able to experience some of it, when most everyone one else is still dreaming with bags of feathers beneath their heads. On day one I was able to visit the Marathon finish line and site of the bombings. While out on my run I came across a statue of Edgar Allan Poe and I even got a little lost and wound up in their section of Chinatown. Day two I ran by the Boston Tea Party museum, found a statue of Paul Revere statue and house, and ran around an area with narrow cobblestone streets just like they were back when horse and buggy was the main mode of transportation.
It was a fun adventure that I wouldn't have been able to do if I didn't run. With this new found freedom I was able to run in Milwaukee, Nashville, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. Running also took me to Southern California with my Ragnar team, and even though I was recovering from my hip surgery I was able to get out to see Phoenix and the surrounding area.
Here are few tips if you plan on running in a city you are not familiar with.
1. Contact someone who knows - Before every trip I hop online and take a look at where my hotel is located with google maps. Then look for running shoe stores around that area and either call them or email them. I tell them when I will be in town, the hotel I am staying at and the estimated time when I would be out running and ask them if they can recommend any safe areas to run.
2. Plan your runs - once I get info from the locals I use google maps to look for any historic or interesting things to see while in town that may be in those safe areas that were recommended to me.
3. If you are traveling with others and they don't run, let them know you will be out running early - having someone that would expect you at a certain time in the morning will know something is wrong if you don't show up on time.
4. Local Laws - check local laws if you plan on carrying anything more than your fists to protect yourself, you'll want to know. Also check about J walking and other local laws you may unknowingly break.
5. Prepare for weather - Check the weather before you leave so you can take the proper gear. While it may be sunny and 65 where you are, it could be 100 and rainy or 30 and snowy where you are going.
6. Take your phone, ID and some cash - Of course you'll want to take pictures on your runs, but if you have an emergency you'll want to call for help. You never know when you'll need to prove who you are so take your ID and cash is a must because you never know when you could get injured and a cab could be your savior to get you back to your hotel.
Here are a few pictures from some of my sights while out, burning up the road.