Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

My Cow Harbor Race review was my first post since June 23, about three months.  I had the best intentions of keeping up  with the blog this summer, however as the legendary songwriter Vanilla J. Ice once said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." Yep, I'm pretty sure it was the Artist Formerly Known As Robert Van Winkle who said it, not that other guy from that British boy band...One Direction.

There were some weeks this summer when I ran just one day and some when I ran five, but my weekly mileage never exceeded 28 and usually averaged about 15.  This was a huge drop from my 40+mpw minimum base I had maintained for two years.  There really wasn't much to write about as far as my running was concerned.  As far as my life was concerned, I did go to some pretty cool places.  For starters, I brought my two oldest children to Europe, while their father stayed home with the two youngest (Yeah, I know).  

We flew SAS (which I totally would fly again) to Rome with a 24 layover in Copenhagen on the way there and an overnight in Stockholm on the way home.  We stayed at the CabInn in Denmark which was walking distance from both the main train station and Tivoli Gardens.  Our triple room was tiny despite the name, but clean with a private bathroom.   There was no time to go for a run and I was in no mood due to jet lag.

Our view from the CabInn in Copenhagen

Our beautiful hotel in Rome, the Visconti Palace, had a gym which is key if you want to run when traveling solo with children.  We were only a couple of blocks from the Tiber River where I saw many runners along its banks, but as much as I would have liked to, I did not join them.  My oldest daughter was not too keen on running along the river and my son would not be able to run more than a couple of miles.  I was not comfortable leaving them alone in the hotel in a foreign country.  We ended up using the hotel gym every night.  We usually were the only ones in there.  My daughter loved the one elliptical machine which was fine because I despise it, and my son and I took turns on the treadmill.  It is a well known fact that treadmills are not fun.  They are even less fun in a country with the metric system.  I have run five miles on a treadmill more times than I can count.  I have even run twelve miles on the treadmill during my marathon training.  But running 8.04 kilometers on a treadmill is absolutely the worst!  Whenever you run on a treadmill, it's a mindfuck.    You play these games in your head while you are constantly looking at the dashboard counting down or up on the clock or the distance or the pace.  To do this in kilometers is downright torture.  My saving grace was spending that time with the kids.  Every day they looked forward to going to the gym after sightseeing.  It was our time to unwind and have fun.  I loved it and hated it simultaneously.

Our "hotel" in Stockholm was called Jumbo Stay.  It is actually a jumbo jet converted into a hostel.  We arrived in Stockholm at 10pm and had to fly out the next morning.  Jumbo Stay made the most sense for a layover since you literally did not have to leave the airport!  The kids and I loved this hotel.   Technically, it is a hostel.  There is a communal bathroom, but it was so clean I did not mind walking in there barefoot (That's right!  BAREfoot!  You have to take off your shoes before entering the plane and leave them at the door!).  The only downside was the lack of a fitness center, but really, there was no time to work out.

Our room at Jumbo Stay 
in Stockholm

You can walk out on the wing for a late night cocktail 
or morning coffee.

My next vacation was less than a week after arriving home from Europe.  We spent three nights camping in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard and a week in a rental house (a remote converted barn on a compound) on Chappaquiddick.  The Vineyard is a runner's paradise.  There are bicycle paths throughout the island making running safe and convenient.  There is a large, dedicated running community on the island.  Our friend, Dana is one of the veterans.  I ran exactly a 10k from the campsite to Dana's house one day.  The next day I met up with his friends and ran 6 easy miles along the water in Oak Beach.

During the time on Chappy, I explored the island either on foot or bicycle with the kids.  There are only two paved roads on Chappaquiddick, the rest are dirt.  This was great for my legs when running, however it totally sucked on the bike, particularly when there was an occupant in the baby seat.  Chappy is nice for those who don't mind isolation.  If you like restaurants, shopping, and occasional conversation with people who you're not related to, stick to the Vineyard.

The dirt road from our barn, 
aka The Middle of Nowhere,
 to the rest of Chappy

I came back to reality (oh, there goes gravity!)  the week before Labor Day weekend just in time for back-to-school shopping.  Then it was back to school.  And now back to our regularly scheduled program - She Is Out Running...Again


  1. In a perfect world you would have spent your mornings running along the Tiber rather than grinding out miles on the soul crushing treadmill. But the late day gym workouts sound like they were a great family experience. And the kids will always remember the airplane hotel and the time in Chappaquiddick and camping in Vineyard Haven.

    Even with a drop in average weekly miles it seems like you've maintained your fitness well enough to be competitive. With the kids back in school, you may be able to ramp up the volume again this fall. Time for some long runs with your friends on the weekends.

    1. Yes, the memories we made this summer will stick with us for the rest of our lives. They are priceless.

      Run this weekend?

    2. Maybe. I think we have early morning plans for Saturday, but perhaps on Sunday?