Last summer my editor from Correre, the Italian running magazine that I write for, interrupted my nap on the hammock at our beach house with a phone call. He never calls, but when he does all his conversations are quick and to the point.
“We’re organizing a cruise for runners in the Mediterrenean next spring. We want you to come and lead the training runs. Some on the ship, some on land. Can I put you down for it?”
I think I had been dreaming a little, that sort of drifting off you do on a hot summer afternoon. I remember telling him it sounded like fun and that he could count on me. I had a few plans for spring of 2011 but nothing really confirmed yet.
Flash forward six months later and all those little projects that I had been dreaming and planning started shaping up, including Up & Running. Then the second phone call came. “Okay, it’s all set, we’re leaving from Venice on March 24th…”
Eeeek! I made sure there was Wifi onboard so that I could answer questions on the Up & Running 5K course forum every day, then started to pack my bags. I took my 7 year old son out of school for a week figuring he could get just as much of an education visiting three new countries as sitting in his classroom.
If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship in any part of the world, you’ll know that most of the customers are older couples. Not all, but most. Our group of 70 runners and walkers stuck out just a little… in a good way! We would get up early every morning and meet on deck 14. If we were at sea we would run around the deck for a warmup followed by running drills and stretching exercises.
After the third day we landed in a new country every morning. In Rhodes, Greece we ran around the castle, near Olympia on the beach. Izmir, Turkey had a beautiful running path along the city shore . In Dubrovnik, Croatia we took a long 5km walk to the Ancient City…and then back again!
Cruise ships are notorious for having food served all day long and this was no different. Buffet breakfasts, lunches and tea times. Seven course dinners with extra helpings of dessert. I heard they had a midnight buffet but I was dead asleep by that time of night. I was surprised when I got home to see that I had lost a pound during my cruise ship week and I can thank my running habit for that.
It just goes to show you that you really can run anywhere and everywhere in the world… just remember to take your running shoes with you.