Monday, April 6, 2009

Switching it up: Running along the Potomac

On Friday, I had my first opportunity to run somewhere besides Barnegat - National Harbor, Maryland! I was there for the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference, and had heard when I arrived that there were some pretty nice places to run, so I was looking forward to it.

When I got there on Wednesday, it was drizzling, grey, and foggy - very depressing. Even more depressing was that my hotel room overlooked an indoor hallway, so there was no way for me to see what the weather was like, or even have any natural light at all. Fortunately, there were big windows near the conference area, so I was able to see the sky, albeit from indoors. The hotel was so big that there was no need to ever leave - one of the delegates even joked that there were no exit doors. It definitely felt that way! After Thursday was chilly, rainy and gross again, I was seriously debating whether I would make it outside for a run, especially when Friday morning was more of the same. I knew there was a gym at the hotel, but I had been told that there were only six treadmills and six ellipticals for the entire hotel. Unless I was going to get up at some ridiculously early hour, I figured I'd never make it on a treadmill!

But by Friday afternoon, the sun had come out and it had warmed up quite nicely. The wind was blowing fiercely, but that was nothing new for me, and since my body was so sore after sitting through conference sessions for two days, I was definitely in need of a run. I have to admit that I was craving it! I skipped one of the afternoon sessions to check out the scenery outside. The concierge promised me an almost two mile loop if I stuck to the sidewalk, so I put on my headphones and headed outside.

What followed was probably the best worst run I've had yet. The weather was gorgeous, and it felt great to stretch my legs and run somewhere new. I really enjoyed looking at the beautiful Potomac as I was running and exploring the new little town that they were building up in National Harbor. But my body was so tired from the activities of the past couple of days, and it definitely was not the flat run that I was used to. So I ended up having to take a lot of walking breaks, and probably walked as much as I ran. Plus, my phone seemed to have the hiccups and would go from taking away seconds to adding them back on the clock. It was also warm enough that I was wishing I had brought shorts to run in instead of my running tights - I felt overheated pretty quickly, but the wind kept me a bit cool. I was worried that I'd lose my hat to the river, but I managed to keep it on my head and just enjoy the view. The main problem I seemed to have was that I could either run on the sidewalk, which was super hilly and went more through the town than by the river, or I could run down the stairs and along the Potomac, but it was a much shorter span. I mixed it up between the two, and ran along some of the docks as well. I focused on enjoying the experience of running in a new place instead of trying to hit the day's goal, and I think that's why I had such a great time!

Now that I know I'm brave enough to run in unfamiliar territory, I'll be willing to try it whenever I travel!

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