Running on vacation

Last week I went to spend a week with my father in California for his 86th birthday. Since I live in Italy it’s quite a trek for me to get there and back, but it’s totally worth it. I love having quality time with him, it’s always an intense week together. I’ve been doing this for a few years now so we have a sort of routine worked out. The places we love to go browse through, Christmas shopping for my family, the restaurants he likes to eat at.

I also have my personal routine too. My transcontinental flight always arrives in the early afternoon and I arrive at his house just in time for an early dinner. Then I struggle not to pass out before 9:00 p.m. so that jet lag doesn’t mess up my sleeping schedule too much. But I always wake up at 4:00 a.m. and then try and stay in bed for another hour. Thank goodness for the Starbucks just three blocks away that opens for early morning workers! I put on my running clothes, go have a cup of coffee and use the free wifi to call my husband. Then I’m off for my early morning run.

When I’m on a quick vacation like this one I usually employ the Bare Minimum Running Plan. The BMRP has you choose a time or distance that you will do every single morning before the rest of the vacation crew wakes up. The daily movement keeps you fit, helps you ease into a new time zone and takes care of any excess eating (within reason) while on said vacation. For this California vacation I chose 5km as my morning run distance.

My Dad’s house is close to a bike trail that stretches from Santa Rosa all the way to Sebastopol. It runs along a creek and has vineyards on the other side of the trail. It’s part gravel, part pavement with wooden bridges that cross over the creek going west and south. It’s lovely and I always look forward to my morning run. This year it was fun to take my iPhone with me and try and find something different to photograph every day.

Not only did I find something different every day, but I noticed that with just a slight change in time or temperature everything seemed to change. Simple nuances. The light was different, there would be frost on the plants. One day my hands were fine, the next day I had to keep warming them up from the morning chill.

I mixed up the 5km each day. One day it was a 1km warm up and then 4 x 1km at a medium pace. Another day it was fartleks throughout the entire distance. My last day there it was just a plain ‘ole 5km run.

Afterwards I’d walk back to the house where Dad had already put on a pot of coffee. We’d sit and chat about the morning news and plan our day. Now I’m back home and am back to my regular training program.

Right away I went and ran a jetlagged ten kilometres and I have to say, though sleepy eyed, I felt stronger than ever. That’s the power of consistent running while on vacation.