Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write my latest attempt at literary mediocrity, only to find this is my 500th Post!
Yes ma’am. 500 posts about running, Disney, dogs, travel, opinions, memories, reviews, recaps, and a general overview of all things shenanigans. One name change, a couple of breaks, a few years later and here we are. What have we learned along the way? Not much. That’s okay though because it’s been a fun trip and I don’t plan on that trip coming to an end any time soon.
In honor of this not so momentous occasion, let’s dive back into the archives and take a look at where this crazy sport of running has taken me. As a true Sagittarian, I have an ingrained love of travel. So combining my two loves has always been a no-brainer. So grab a margarita, step into the Black Dog People Mover, and enjoy the ride.
Vero Beach, Florida
Not exactly a destination running beach, but definitely a happy place for the Black Dog family. Thanks to a family connection, we spent many a great weekend at a beautiful beach house walking some serious mileage along Vero Beach in Florida, conveniently located about 4 miles away from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. The sand was too soft for running – unless you’re a glutton for punishment – but a decent hour’s walking in that stuff was enough to make you feel like you’d run a good half marathon. Not to mention that if you went at the right time of year, the turtles are laying eggs all over the beach.
Once upon a time, a certain Grouper had the opportunity to attend a session at the FBI Academy in Quantico. Just before he graduated, we had the chance – ironically on September 11th, 2010 – to run a memorial 5k that started/ended in Arlington VA, and ran through a small section of DC, including past the side of the Pentagon that was struck on that tragic day. It was a bit surreal to say the least, and plenty of tears were shed as we slowed down passing the Pentagon. To this day we are still so proud and honored to have been able to participate in such an amazing event.
Where do I even begin with this wonderful city? The people are SO fun, the food is out of this world, and the music? All I can say is you’ve never heard such a mix of every genre out there. Running along Canal Street can take you to Louis Armstrong Park, along the Mississippi, back to the French Market, (Bloody Mary to burn your lips off anyone?), up Bourbon Street, past Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Shop, (which sadly has become very commercialized), and through the French Quarter. The roads and sidewalks are horrible running surfaces, but the color and flavor of the city cannot be beat.
Being the wine freaks that we are, it was only a matter of time before we decided to fly the friendly skies to the west coast and indulge ourselves on all things grape. The best part of staying in Napa is a miles long paved fitness trail that runs right through the main stretch of the town and continues into the start of the vineyards located in the center of the valley. We visited in August, so while quite toasty for those of you more “thick-blooded”, we were right at home in the warmer temperatures. And what’s better than being able to run off all of those wine induced calories?
It always makes me smile to think of all the amazing people I’ve met simply by the need I’ve had to reign in the game show dollar machine I have for a brain and let what’s racing around in there spill out onto this blog. Lisa is one of those people. We may live 2,214 miles apart (give or take a few), but our common love for running has bonded us probably for life. She is the hare to my turtle when it comes to pace, but having someone as obsessed about pace, finish times, and injuries as I am, makes all the conversations we have daily – thanks to Google chat – that much more fun. We were finally able to run Disney’s Wine and Dine Half back in 2016 together, and to this day, even though it was my slowest half ever – because who can resist stopping for ever silly photo op possible? – it was one of my favorite races ever.
When it all comes down to it though, as much as I suffer from a never-ending case of wanderlust, I love coming home just as much. Who wouldn’t with sunrises like this and little furry friends who are only too happy to keep you company on a cool tropical winter morning?
The best advice I can offer you is this: explore the world. There is so much out there to be seen, heard, tasted, and experienced and life is way too short not to do all of it. Even if sometimes that experience means simply turning left instead of right.
Enjoy the ride.
Where is your favorite place to run? Do you explore new places by running through them?