Category Archives: Runventure

Running in Reykjavik

It might not get a lot of love as a runners’ destination, but Iceland offers a lot to like. Varying terrain for trail runners. Long, sweeping paths that stretch for miles for endurance aficionados. And incredible scenery in nearly every direction. While I didn’t get to do much running while I toured around the country, I took a few great hikes and enjoyed exploring Reykjavik by foot on a windy day.

I visited Iceland during a shoulder month, when the main scenic attractions were less busy, but some of the trails and viewpoints were closed for the year. I was still able to check out some great trails. There are two trails that I highly recommend to trail runners, even though I only got to do short hikes on each.

Skogafoss Waterfall Skogar Iceland

First, Skogafoss is a well-known, beautiful waterfall located just off the ring road in the south of the country. If you climb the steps to the top of the waterfall, you’ll find a small ladder that takes you over a sheep fence. From there, you’ll find a spectacular trail that winds along a beautiful river and waterfalls that never seem to end. Every turn and hill crest rewards runners and hikers with a new surprise. We saw hikers, runner, and mountain bikers. We made a short hike out of it, but you can extend it to 55km via the Laugavegur Trail. This trail was the best part of the entire 10-day trip for me. Check out the Strava data for this hike.

The next trail begins at Dettifoss, a mind-bending, powerful waterfall that will make you feel very small. You can take the trail on the west side of the falls more than 30km to Ásbyrgi in the north. While we were able to do a small loop here, we were rebuffed due to the seasonal trail closure and didn’t get to run this spectacular river trail. There are some great views and beautiful waterfalls on this trail. If you go in summertime, take advantage of it.

Dettifoss Iceland Waterfall Trail

Finally, I got a run in on the second to last day of the trip, while staying in Reykjavik. The wind in Iceland can really get whipping sometimes, and this was one of the windier days of the trip. I was staying in downtown on the main strip, Laugavegur. From there, I was able to make a short jog to the waterfront. Despite the wind, it was a beautifully sunny day. I ran along the water and soaked in the sights of the fishing and trading boats that line the docks. There is a path along the water. I ran it nearly to the lighthouse on the far West tip of Reykjavik before returning on pretty much the same route. The city opens up to the North Atlantic Ocean here and the views are striking. Mountains across the water on another peninsula, seabirds, the city that seems to rise up out of nowhere amongst the harsh landscape. Strava GPS is here.

On a final note, if you’re looking for gluten-free food in Iceland, you can do pretty well in just about any restaurant. They understand gluten intolerance and I ate so much amazing seafood. There is a chain called Joe and the Juice. There are two locations at the airport and one in downtown. I’m sure there are more, but those were the three I came across. Try the spicy tuna panini sandwich. For finer Italian eating, try Rossopomodoro. Sure it’s touristy, but the gluten-free pasta was very well done. I encountered several restaurants, especially pizzerias, who advertised gluten-free online, but had no idea what I was talking about when I called or visited. If you’re really hard-up, there are a couple Domino’s locations. On Route 41 on the waterfront, look for Icelandic Fish & Chips, where you can enjoy a reasonably priced fish soup. Finally, if you’re looking for gluten-free beer, good luck. The only place I found it was a great little underground place called Micro Bar. As luck would have it, they had two gluten-free beers I’d never had before from Mikkeller and Brewdog.

If you’d like to see more of Iceland, have a look at the video below and see if you’re inspired to plan a running vacation.

Kentucky Marathon Finish Line Marker

Running in Louisville, Kentucky

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Kentucky to stand up in a friend’s wedding. We like to go for a run on those rare times we get to see each other and I was happy to get in one of my Louisville runs with a little company. To my knowledge, Louisville isn’t known as a runner’s city, but I certainly saw plenty of runners while I was there.

The waterfront seems to be changing all the time. Green spaces are popping up more and more. And you can run right into Indiana if you like, which I did a couple of times.

Brown Hotel Bar Ceiling

Beautiful Ceiling at the Brown Hotel Bar

I stayed downtown at the Brown Hotel. From the hotel, it’s a quick trip to the riverfront. Head north on 4th Street and make your way through the very strange Fourth Street Live! area. It seems like this area transitioned a few years back and they want it to be a hip, appealing area for shoppers and visitors. It was mostly plugged up with chain restaurants, which didn’t appeal to me, but I suppose they would to some people.

Moving along, I stayed on 4th Street and headed past the convention center until I got to the stairs that led down to the waterfront. I turned right (East) when I got to the river. This is a pretty area with lots of historic things to look at and a nice view across the Ohio River into Jeffersonville, Indiana. I took my time running past the Belle of Louisville sternwheeler and underneath the Clark Memorial Bridge.

Ohio River Louisville Highway bridge

Eventually I came to the Louisville Waterfront Park’s Great Lawn. Kitty corner from here, you can see the famous Louisville Slugger Field. I continued under the I-65 highway bridge until I got to a beautiful bridge simply called The Walking Bridge or The Big 4. There is a long, sweeping, circular ramp to get up to the bridge, which is a nice challenge. Once on the bridge, there are historical markers and great views. I took this bridge into Indiana and enjoyed exploring Colston Memorial Park and Big Four Station. There are a few waterfront routes to run on this side of the river, although I didn’t run on them. There are restrooms and drinking fountains in this park. Strava data for day 1 run is here.

This was the midpoint of my run and I explored some other areas on the way back, but the riverfront was the highlight. If you go to Louisville and you’re a runner, be sure to check out the waterfront, the fresh green spaces, and this terrific bridge. Strava data for each day 2 run is here.

Hardrock Hundred Mile Trail Run Silverton

Trail Running on the Hardrock Hundred Mile Course, Silverton, Colorado

My wife and I were less than 48 hours away from our frontier road trip when I realized it. We were meeting up with her sister in Colorado and I was perusing the itinerary. On the way to Colorado, we would stay in Boise, Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Then we’d all meet up in Grand Junction, Colorado. Ok, this is wine country, which is nice, but aside from a riverfront trail, there aren’t any publicized great running trails within running distance of the motel. What’s next? Silverton, Colo…

Silverton, Colorado! I was shocked. The tiny victorian mining town where the Hardrock 100 Trail Race starts and finishes every summer – was this really that place? A quick review of our reservations and I realized that it was indeed that very place. No, we wouldn’t be there the same weekend as the race, but we would be there within 3 weeks of the race finishing. There was never a more pleasant surprise than realizing that we would be staying just a couple blocks from the start/finish line.

Just a few weeks before, Killian Jornet and Anna Frost had set course records here. Granted, I wouldn’t be there for all the excitement of the race, but there was another bonus. I was going to get to run on portions of the Hardrock 100 course. I looked up several maps and put together a Garmin GPS map for my Fenix 3. I got the lay of the land online and mentally ran the course over and over. This was going to be fun. I wasn’t going 100 miles. My wife and I would probably only put in 5 miles or so, but it isn’t every day you get to run in the footsteps of legends.

We drove into town from the north end and stopped at an overlook to check out the old mining facilities. We saw tons of deer on the way into town, so if you decide to visit, drive carefully. The steep drop-offs on the side of the highway don’t look like any picnic either.

Silverton Hardrock Trail Run Blair Street

We stayed at a little motel above a bar called The Bent Elbow. Supposedly, this place used to be a brothel. It was actually very cozy and had a patio with a great view of Notorious Blair Street, formerly known mostly for gambling, booze, and prostitution. Only one street in town is paved and the place has a great feel. We must have visited every bar and restaurant in town in the one night we passed through. At some point in the early evening, while we were wandering around, I spotted it. THE Hardrock.

Hardrock 100 Mile Trail Run Silverton Colorado

Fully geeked out and prepared, my wife and I left early on a Thursday morning to adventure on the trail. Just getting out of town was difficult. The town is in a valley, so even though the runners reverse clockwise and counter-clockwise every other year, there’s still a brutal ascent in the first mile, no matter what direction they go. We made it up the single-track trail, almost as high as the miner’s memorial, and then dipped onto an area with fewer brutal elevation changes. There were still some flares up from the race, which helped us a bit with navigation.

We started out on dirt and gravel road and wound up on dirt double-track. Eventually, this became single-track and we emerged from the forest into an unbelievable expanse of huge, orange and red rocks. The footing was tricky, but fun, and we had a great time running through the low-hanging clouds and generally blasting along on terrain the likes of which we had never experienced.

Before too long, we turned around and headed back to town. We had to meet up with the rest of our traveling party for breakfast and the drive down to Durango. We would still travel out to Mesa Verde on this day. We packed a ton into this short trip to this tiny town, but we would do it all over again.

Silverton stuck with me after this trip. Whether I ever get the opportunity to run the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Race or not, I hope to return to Silverton any time I pass through this area. And someday, I’m going to take advantage of that Durango-Silverton steam train too!

Check out some footage from our run below.

Trail Running Boise, Table Rock

Running in Boise, Idaho

I can’t tell you what I used to think of when I heard someone talk about Boise, Idaho. I never knew much, to be honest. Recently, my wife and I took a road trip that circled through 6 high west frontier states. On night one, we pulled into our hotel in Boise somewhere around 11pm. We didn’t really see too much on the way into town. We were mostly concerned with getting to the hotel, enjoying a beer in the room, and turning in for the night. Other than a run scheduled for first thing in the morning, Boise was merely a pit stop for the larger trip. I pointed out a gigantic lighted cross way up in the hills on the outskirts of town and jokingly told my wife that’s where our run would take us in the morning. She didn’t think it was funny at all and with my pride somewhat bruised, we drifted off to sleep.

At first light, we grabbed our running gear and headed for our starting point, about half a mile from the hotel. We stayed directly on the Boise River, which splits through town. We would start running on the multi-use path that follows the river and end at the top of Table Rock, then return for a total of around 8 miles.

My wife and I enjoy watching college football, but we’re not super fans. Whenever we see Boise State’s blue field on television, we yell “blue rug!” We don’t have any affiliations with the school or know anything about it, really, other than the fact that they play on a crazy blue and orange field. I had a hunch my wife wasn’t aware how close we were to the university and as we approached our starting point, she saw the stadium and realized what we were walking toward. “Blue rug!” We walked to the stadium and snapped some photos. We started running on the path directly in front of the stadium.

The first 2.5 miles of the run were spent on concrete and asphalt multi-use path as we winded along the river. Soon we arrived at the Old Idaho Penitentiary Site, which is now a museum and garden. The penitentiary also marks the beginning of the non-paved trail to the top of Table Rock. There are tons of trails on Table Rock, but we chose to take the #15A Old Pen Trail to the #15 Table Rock Trail. Somewhere around mile 3, we realized two things:

  1. The elevation estimate I got from Garmin was totally inaccurate and we would be climbing many more feet than we thought
  2. That giant lighted cross was sitting at the top of Table Rock

There was a surprising amount of foot traffic on the trail, but we slowly made our way up. With my wife cursing me frequently throughout the run, I paused occasionally to sneak peeks of the view of downtown Boise. I could see our hotel and, right next door, the Boise Color Run kicking off in a cloud of multi-colored effervescence. We arrived at the summit finally and soaked in the views. After 899 feet of elevation gain, we were ready to take in some nutrition and rest for a few moments. We originally anticipated the run to end in an hour and thirty minutes. In total, we spent 1:52:47 in motion.

We started down the trail and moved at a great clip. Surprisingly, we ran into more traffic on the way up than on the way down, so we were able to really make up some time. As usual, running proved to be a great way to enjoy the city of Boise. Now, when I think of Boise, I’ll picture a city that blends with nature. The river winds through it and it’s seemingly surrounded by protected wild lands. From the river to Table Rock, to watching firefighting airplanes take off to aid in the effort against rampant forest fires, we never once got bored on this run. The Strava course GPS is below in case you want to experience this run in person the next time you’re in Boise.

And check out some photos and GoPro footage from the run in the YouTube video below.

Wildwood Trail Forest Park Portland Oregon

30 Miles on the Wildwood Trail: My First Ultra Run

Milestones are funny things. I’ll never forget the elation and exhaustion I felt after my first 5k race. My first 10k race felt more like a building block than a spire, but I still enjoyed the pride that came along with pushing myself beyond a previous boundary. My first half marathon distance run was sadly punctuated by my first realization that I needed to either wear better shirts, strategically place band-aids, or lubricate certain, ah, sensitive areas of my upper body. Finally, there was my first marathon, whereupon finishing, I had to take several minutes to compose myself as the combination of pure joy and raw emotion nearly overwhelmed me. I may be more sentimental than most, but in the world of running, I have plenty of company.

The past year has found me acquiring a new obsession with trail running. Almost by association, I have also discovered a passion for ultra running. That may sound strange coming from somebody who has only finished two road marathons so far and whose longest trail run up to this point was 16 miles, but I assure you, the eagerness to run far is real. I have learned many lessons about when and how to slowly build up distance in my training. I recognize that I have plenty more work to put in before I can call myself a true endurance athlete, but after this past weekend, I feel comfortable identifying myself as an ultra runner.

The Wildwood Trail in Forest Park is described with awe by many who have traversed it. I have read endless accounts from runners and hikers extolling the beauty of this singletrack wonder. I myself have run the southernmost 8 miles of the trail on previous occasions, but I had never been north of that on this 30-mile trail. Knowing that the trail was well-marked and having the course mapped out on my trusty GPS watch, I felt encouraged setting my sights on Wildwood for my first ultra run.

I prepared myself on the morning of September 19, 2015 with coffee and dry cereal (Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, if you must know). I had already loaded up my hydration vest with 2.5 liters of water. I also loaded up a 1/2 liter handheld bottle with water. One of the 1/2 liter soft-flasks on my hydration vest also contained an electrolyte tablet. Other nutrition consisted of various GU gels, GU chews, salt tablets, and three slices of Sizzle Pie Raising Arizona pizza. Don’t judge me. 30 miles is a long time and when I get down, I crave pizza. Do not knock it until you try it. When I was satisfied that I was fully prepared, I ordered up an UBER cab.

The driver had been waiting around the corner at Stumptown and showed up in 15 seconds. I was surprised, but eagerly snatched up my gear and stepped out the door. At that moment, I realized I was still wearing my slippers. This was a fortunate catch. I grabbed my Altra Lone Peak 2.0s and bounced down the stairs toward the car in my socks. Michael, my driver, apologized for the quick arrival (which wasn’t really a problem at all) and away we went.

I chose to run the Wildwood Trail from north to south. I recognized that this would mean a difficult climb between miles 25-27 and 3,000 feet of elevation gain overall. I’m training for the Silver Falls 50k on November 7, which has 4,000 feet of elevation gain, so it was important to me that I test my mettle before that race. I wanted a baseline to provide myself with a goal to shoot for in November. The drive to the trailhead took about 25 minutes and required one u-turn to find the trailhead, but it was all good. Michael was an interesting person with great stories and I got to watch the sun rising over Mounts Hood, Helens, and Adams. Plus, any day I get to see the gorgeous St. John’s Bridge is a good day.

I jumped out of the car and walked for about 50 feet before finding the actual sign for the trailhead. I quickly stuffed my jacket in my pack. The weather felt much warmer than 55 degrees and I was happy to strip down to shorts and t-shirt from the start. I triggered the activity start on my watch and dropped into the forest.

I didn’t bring my GoPro on this run. I had my phone with me in case I needed to get in contact with my wife, but I wasn’t shooting any photos or video on this run. I also wasn’t listening to headphones. I wanted this to be a pure running experience with no distractions. More so in trail running than on the road, the sound of my breathing is cathartic to me. I feel more in tune with my body as minor aches and pains pass through from time to time. I am more prepared to make adjustments to my form and stride when necessary. As I began my first descent, I immediately noticed the stillness of the forest. My next realization was the greenery. The colors and thickness of the forest were spectacular. This place felt as remote as any hike I’ve ever done. And it’s in the city.

The next thought caught me by surprise. I skipped over a few roots and stones and hit the first foot bridge. Looking up, I saw the blue diamond spray painted on a tree marking the Wildwood Trail. A few feet above that was a sign that read “30 Miles.” For a split second, I felt actual dread. I wasn’t expecting this. I was excited for 30 miles. I was prepared for 30 miles. There was no problem. Something in the far reaches of my mind jolted me for a moment. I shook my head and smiled. There was only one other car at the trailhead and my UBER was long gone. I was on my own. The panicked part of my brain had no choice but to sit down, shut up, and hold on for the long, arduous ride for the next several hours. The dedicated part of my brain that has been pushing me on my running journey for the last 2 years took over and during the next mile, I calmed down and settled into a comfortable rhythm.

Soon enough I had a new issue. There are markers on the Wildwood Trail nearly every quarter mile with a blue diamond and a mileage marker. It wasn’t long before my GPS watch was underestimating my distance. If not for the markers, I don’t know that I would have made it. At mile 5.5, my watch was off by more than 2 miles. As time dragged on and mileage increased, it would have been really discouraging thinking I was at mile 18 instead of 25. Identifying the issue, I shrugged and persisted. This is always a possibility with trail running and the blue diamond trees were going to guide me home.

My plan was to eat every 45 minutes for the first few hours. Knowing my nutrition history, I would begin to detest food somewhere around the 3.5 hour mark. At that point, I would only be able to eat something every hour. After 45 minutes, I ate a caffeinated gel. After 1:30, I went after one of the pizza slices. But I had made a miscalculation. The slices were from a large pizza. A small would have worked better. I unthinkingly devoured the entire slice and kept running. In the end, I don’t regret eating the pizza, but it did throw off my nutrition plan. I felt full and sluggish for a mile or two, and I couldn’t eat again for over an hour. Despite my nutrition schedule getting off track, everything was going great. I resolved to move back to my every 45 minutes eating routine and avoid the giant pizza slices unless I craved them later on.

There are myriad feeder trails throughout the Wildwood Trail and plenty of people as you move south along the trail. In the first 6 miles, however, I only saw 4 other people… and 3 dogs. None of the dogs were on leashes and all were more than 20 feet ahead of their owners. I’m all for having dogs on the trail and all of these dogs were well-behaved and posed no threat, but there are signs everywhere on the trail requiring leashes. When you’re totally alone and come around a corner face-to-face with a huge dog, it takes your brain a moment to register what sort of animal this is. It takes a moment to see the people trailing way behind and breathe a sigh of relief. Even for someone who loves dogs like myself, it’s a disconcerting feeling. There are so many people who have had unfortunate run-ins with dogs that leave them with a debilitating fear of all dogs. Irrational or not, this is a note for dog owners. No matter how well-behaved your dog is on this trail, put it on a leash. The next runner, hiker, walker, or bike rider you meet may have been attacked by a dog in the past. Please give that person peace of mind by having your animal on a leash. It’s not only common courtesy, it’s the rule in this particular park. And not to harp, but the two dozen bright plastic bags of dog refuse littering the trail did very little to improve my view of dog owners on this day.

Back to the run. It was around mile 15 when I first started to feel fatigued. I didn’t have any major aches, but there was a dull pain beginning to set in at my major joint areas. I was still moving at a good clip. I did some quick calculations and realized that I was a little behind on water consumption. I was planning to refill my bottles at Pittock Mansion, which lies around the 27-mile mark of the trail. I resolved to drink more water over the next several miles to get back on track.

Mile 17 marks a comfortable downhill stretch followed by a 350-foot hill climb. I was cruising down this stretch when I caught my toe on a root. I thought it was a leaf when I saw it so I didn’t hop over it as aggressively as I should have. I began to tumble to my left and started to roll to prevent a major collision with the ground. Pressing my handheld water bottle into the ground, I braced myself for impact. Instead of rolling, I awkwardly smashed into the dirt, which gave way completely and sent me several feet down into a small ravine. My shoulder had taken the brunt of the impact, but I had knocked the wind out of myself as well. I stood up and brushed myself off, climbed back up, and walked until my breath came back to me. Strangely, just as I fell, another runner 50 feet in front of me caught a root and hit the deck as well. It was the only other fall I saw all day. He landed much harder than me and was covered in dirt, but was no worse for wear. We congratulated each other on our good fortune. We would leapfrog each other from this point on for the next 6 miles. Unfortunately, this marked the first big uphill climb of the day and the fall had taken all the wind out of my sails. I wound up hiking nearly all of the climb before reaching level trail and breaking into a run.

Somewhere around mile 23, my wife called me. She had parked at the zoo/Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial where the trail ends. The plan was for her to run to Pittock Mansion and back, with the intent that I would finish my run somewhere around the same time as her. I was moving at a good clip at this time and I was feeling pretty confident. I encouraged her to run the 3 miles from Pittock to the zoo and I would catch up to her at the parking lot. I advised her that I was pretty sure that I was approaching the stone house on the trail and would be beginning the major 700-foot ascent from there to Pittock Mansion. We hung up and I cruised along the descent to stone house. On my approach, I was struck by how many people were hanging about. I scanned the crowd nonchalantly until my eyes settled on a familiar figure.

My wife had run all the way to stone house, 5.5 miles from the zoo. Completing the circuit back to the zoo would make this her longest trail run. I could not have been happier to see her. This was the best surprise I could have received and it took me a moment to say anything (see above where I talk about being a bit of an emotional wreck when I push my physical limits). We ascended together on the steep trail to Pittock Mansion, running when we could and power hiking when we had to.

Somewhere around mile 21, I had taken a salt tablet. It seemed to help a lot and I should have taken one right before this ascent, but I decided that I was done with food at this point, which included salt tabs. This was a mistake. Any food at this point would have been advisable and I should have stuck to the plan. I took on another gel around mile 26, but it was too late. It did some good, but didn’t have the impact it might have a couple miles earlier. Lesson learned. Eat before the going gets really tough. Stick to the plan.

My wife had brought me enough water to make it to the end and I was happy not to have to stop to refill any water bottles as we passed Pittock Mansion. Reaching the trail on the other side of the Pittock parking lot, we finally began to descend again. After 27 miles and all that elevation gain, I found descending to be extremely painful for my knees. I spent the first 1/4 mile getting my footing back and adjusting to the new terrain and finally was able to run intermittently when the trail was either gradual downhill, level, or gradual uphill. At this point, I stuck to power hiking on steeper hills and gingerly toe-tapping down steep descents.

I was excited to be back in familiar territory by this point and I know these last couple miles well. I was somewhat nauseous. I controlled that by maintaining a slow jog or walking when necessary. Beyond the challenge of crossing Burnside Road without becoming roadkill, this part of the trail went smoothly. Honestly though, a 45-mile per hour road with 4 lanes passing through a forest with no lights, no bridge, no tunnel. Come on, Portland. Figure this one out before somebody gets killed here.

After a moderate uphill the last 1/2 mile was level and mostly downhill. After a couple false starts, I was able to improve my pace to a full run and finish strong. I crossed the finish line exactly 6 hours and 31 minutes after I started. Specifics of the run are below.

I could not have done this without my wife’s support. I could not have done this without such a beautiful trail right here in my backyard. In another post, I’ll detail how I dealt with the mental and emotional side of running these distances without company. Loneliness on the trail is very real. How you react to loneliness has a great effect on the success or failure of your run.

As accomplished as this milestone makes me feel, I recognize that it is simply another building block. Still, it feels pretty spectacular to call myself an ultra runner for the first time. Hopefully, on November 7, I’ll be able to call myself an ultra race finisher at the Silver Falls 50k.

Jackson Square

Running the Big Easy

I recently had the opportunity to visit New Orleans with a group of friends from back home in Chicago. My physical therapy has been paying dividends and I’m back to putting in decent mileage and comfortable speeds without too much worry about my ankle. I have been to New Orleans before, but I had never run there. I was excited to see the riverfront and explore a little bit.

My wonderful triathlete friend Jen joined me for the first run on the morning of our second day. I love running with a companion and we enjoyed a comfortable conversational pace. It’s always a strange feeling waking up and cruising party central so early in the day. The bizarre combination of smells struck me as the ghosts of the night before. Some good, some bad, some horrible.

We started running as we passed Bourbon Street, heading for the Mississippi River. Almost immediately, I stepped into a crater on the sidewalk and twisted my ankle. I managed to stay upright and was shocked to find no residual pain or weakness. This physical therapy stuff really works! We continued all the way to the riverfront. There was a small wall lining train tracks. If you are in this area, be extremely careful. It is difficult to see the trains coming until you look around the wall.

We crossedNOLA Run to the levy and started on the path. The riverfront path is busy. Like, always busy. Between walkers, runners, cyclists, homeless wanderers, and oblivious tourists taking selfies, awareness is critical. The path is made of mostly slate tiles, so running can be a bit treacherous here as throughout the city. If you try to run on roads, you’ll find many potholes. Some of the streets alternate asphalt and old brick. The sidewalks are all tiles, many of which are broken. I found it best to take my runs slowly, enjoy the scenery, and soak in the city.

The riverfront path is quite short. I am not even sure it was a full mile. We wound up circling from the end of the path, back to the aquarium area, and back several times. The breeze off the river was wonderful and it was fun to see so much maritime activity so early in the day. At some point, a very long freight train pulled through the area and blocked our access back to the city. We simply continued to run until it was clear.

Getting back to the hotel was a bit of a chore because of the hoards of beignet-devouring tourists waiting to get to the riverfront in the other direction. We jogged through Jackson Square and snapped a couple photos before winding through a few more blocks home.

NOLA Run 2On our last day in New Orleans, I went out early in the morning for a solo run. I pretty much followed the original path to begin and started cruising down the riverfront path once again. A disheveled-looking man and woman were sitting on a bench as I passed by. The woman croaked at me, “Hey man, you can’t run away from all your problems!” I quickly responded, “How do you know? Have you ever tried?” We all laughed and I continued on my way. This was typical of New Orleans on both of my visits. Everyone I met was really friendly and outgoing.

I thought I would extend my run a little bit, but wound up getting lost somewhere near a casino. I accelerated my pace because time was getting tight and I was concerned about getting to the airport on time. With a little GPS help, I found my way back and everything worked out fine.

Though I don’t find New Orleans the best city for a run, it was relaxing enough. It was strange to run on flat land again after so much time spent in the Pacific Northwest. I am curious about outlying areas. I never did locate any off-road trails or parks to run in. I’m sure we’ll go back soon and I look forward to exploring a bit more. Any suggestions on where to run are certainly welcome.