It’s late. We are in an historic hotel, stepping away from the stress of many things, if only for a day or two. Even though I’ve had to bring work with me, sometimes just changing one’s surroundings can have a great effect on reducing stress.
I had promised that I wouldn’t go out running, but I somehow managed to pack my togs anyway and, guess what, my alarm is set and my clothes are out. I am excited to wake up early and take a jaunt around this rusty, old town I’ve found myself in. I can’t wait to explore it from the runner’s point of view.
Do you do that? When you come to a new city, do you feel the itch to put your shoes on and get a feel for the city as the wind brushes your skin? I love it: I have such wonderful, vivid memories of the way the cobblestone feels in Prague on an early January morning; of the way I couldn’t help agreeing with the half-naked man running along the river in Budapest at 6 am in May, shouting in accented English, “Woohoo no stress!”; and the serenity of stopping at a pier all by myself to do yoga on the South China Sea before continuing my semi-circumference of one of the islands of Macau, setting my sights on running the beach to the village and back.
There is something about running in new places, and dare I say it, running them solo. I could never get anyone to come out with me. Once upon a time, I might have been nervous. Not any more. The thrill of experiencing a place while it is still sleepy, of taking in the sounds, the textures, the sights — I believe my senses are heightened. I notice details more, and the memories stay with me.
For this reason, I must break my promise and go tomorrow. If I just needed a workout, I’d head to the gym. I need more than a workout, however. I need an a experential run.