And look, I'll even include a What I Wore shot:
Not that I'm passing many. I'm not particularly speedy, but I have decent endurance. I've been trying to find a balance between running days and stretching (yoga) days, over the last year, but I'm building up my weekly distance again, trying to keep a 20-kilometre run as a relatively accessible distance. Up until about six months ago, I ran this at least monthly, but last fall's travel nudged me out of my training pattern. I ran my favourite 18-kilometre route again at the beginning of the New Year, but since then, I've stuck to 8 or 9-kilometre runs. This past weekend, though, I ran 11.5K, and the plan is to add to that each weekend, a kilometre or two at a time, until I'm comfortably back where I would like to be. Meanwhile, I'm trying to keep the mid-week runs at two, occasionally 3, 8 or 9K runs.
In Rome, for the first time ever I laced up and ran through new terrain on my own. Or, at least, new terrain in a new city. I've run new routes on my home turf where I have no trepidation at all in getting lost, except that I might add unplanned distance. And I charted new routes last spring when I guided my sister through the streets of Paris, a city I know fairly well. I've run solo in Bordeaux, but generally on routes Pater and I have already run together. So there was extra pleasure in running solo up to the Borghese Gardens from my daughter's place last month, heading through the gates after passing Harry's Bar, where the tables hadn't yet been set out.
Inside the gardens, not having a companion meant I was free to gaze at my surroundings as I ran, slowing down for photos whenever it pleased me. And it pleased me often -- indeed, this is a trick I've adopted lately for taking it easy when doing longer runs, and it's a trick that works toward that 20% less. I make sure that I intersperse these stop-for-a-camera-break runs with running-without-a-break runs, even running-with-a-faster-partner runs, but I know that extending a long run with photo opportunities that give me a chance to slow my heart rate is a reasonable way to keep running in my 60s.
So I have photos of fountains with horses. . .
so inspired Respighi, filtering romantic early-morning sunlight. . .
I know there are some runners among my readers -- do you like to run when visiting new cities? Or do you give yourself a running vacation? (I often do, thinking it's good for the body to get a rest occasionally.) If you run on holiday, have you ever run solo? I use my iPhone and Google maps as a back-up, roughly plotting a route before I leave my accommodataion -- any other efficient and relatively safe ways of navigating? If you're a walker, the same questions apply, really? I'm sure you walk ample distances with your travel companions, but do you ever want to strike out at your own pace?
And if you're not much of a traveler, I'm still curious about you . . . do you have a program of some sort, formal or informal, relaxed or very organised, to maintain or to build fitness? Do you enjoy it? Do you try to vary it or to challenge yourself within it or do you prefer a routine you don't have to think about too much? For runners and walkers and yoginis and swimmers and paddlers -- all of you movers and shakers -- how much does your workout wardrobe matter? Do you have fun with fitness gear or is your approach strictly practical, like my own?
That's already enough questions to constitute a workout! Better stop there and wait for your answers. Let's have a conversation, shall we?