On the Run: The City of Lights

I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent a long Labor Day weekend in Paris, drinking wine, eating cheese, and walking absolutely everywhere. Of course, a getaway isn’t a getaway (to me, at least) without one solid, scenic run. And what better place to take in the views than Paris?

It’s not every day one gets to say that their run took them as far as the Champs-Elysees. Or the Louvre.


Or the Eiffel Tower.

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But last weekend, that’s exactly where we (Noah, my husband, joined me on my morning excursion) wound up. As he mapped our route back to the hotel, I couldn’t help but stare up, amazed, neck craned toward the sky into the metal abyss. It was beautiful, if not slightly intimidating. I couldn’t imagine at that moment anywhere else I’d prefer to be, which in itself is a magical feeling.

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Running, or exercising in general, while on vacation seems to be a touchy subject for many. We work so hard every other day of the year, it makes sense that people see their days off as a chance to stop, shut down, and unwind.

But for me, running is synonymous with exploration. It’s synonymous with discovery. It’s synonymous with peace of mind. Running through Paris, I felt at ease (save for the tiny streets packed with tons of people; at times, we simply stopped and walked).    I felt unrushed. I felt, well, not at all like I was on the run.

Of course after, my husband and I continued to eat our way through the entire city, stocking up on chocolate croissants, almond pastries, balls of burrata and other delicious, calorie-free cheese. (Winter is coming; see ya, summer bod.)

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And now, we’re back in Philly. Am I sad to be back in reality? Not really, to be honest. Now that I’ve finally been able to shake the jet lag, it’s kind of nice to be back to my weekly routine; I ran 3 days this week and attended a class at the barre studio. I slept in my bed. I snuggled my cat. I returned to the daily grind.

But it’s nice knowing that trips like these, even when they go by too quickly, are out there. With Paris behind us, I’m already ready to start planning the next one.

Have you ever run the streets of Paris? Are you a pro-vacation runner, or do you leave your Mizunos (or whatever else you wear) home?


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I had a vivid dream last night. I was in a race. It was in a school. My parents were on the sidelines (that’s how you know it was a dream; they were there for every basketball game growing up, but races simply aren’t as fun). And I was flying. So fast, in fact, that my legs were outstretched fully in front with every stride – like a whippet, whipping around the track. I couldn’t be stopped. I couldn’t slow down. And then I got confused. Where did one lap end and another begin? Was I still on the course, or had I gone astray. What a waste of speed! What a waste of a race! What a waste, what a waste, what a waste!

Though I’m pro-therapy, I don’t need a shrink to tell me that my dream had to do with feelings of anxiety. This is old news. Kittens on windowsills give me anxiety. Getting engaged gave me anxiety. Everything gives me anxiety.

Unsurprisingly, this also isn’t the first time that an anxiety has manifested itself in the form of a dream or, specifically, in the form of a race. If wasn’t failure but rather confusion, dizziness and a general sense of being lost.

It’s funny, because this week, after several pretty tough ones — between work and a bit of stress over having to run 10 miles during the Broad Street race — I feel pretty damn good. Working long hours? Sure. Running every morning? More or less, save for a few inclement says on Monday and Tuesday. Noah and I even took a 12 mile bike ride on Saturday that was just lovely. It was under tree canopies, near the river, and alongside other bikers, runners and sun worshipers. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

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I choose not to overthink these dreams, but nevertheless find it ironic that it came back so colorfully while in the midst of this morning’s run, as I raced (much more slowly, mind you) along the Schuylkill River. Monday marked our one year anniversary since moving to Philadelphia, which means I’ve now been exploring this territory for an entire year. I may not be fast, but time sure does fly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 9.32.23 AMWednesday’s run was cool and crisp — much more early fall than late spring, with giant drops of last night’s rain falling down upon me from up above in the trees. It was perfect, albeit sluggish. I started in a sweatshirt and wound up in short sleeves, thinking about nothing and everything, planning my day, plotting my night, and contemplating the future. Who needs therapists when you have an hour of that, daily. Running may just be the greatest anxiety killer of them all.

Curious: Do you ever have weird running dreams that have nothing to do with running at all?