Exploring a New Culture and Country

Can you think of a better way to see a new area than to strip yourself down to the bare essentials (a pair of running shoes and no noisy distractions)? Well, that sounds like heaven to me. As for me, 2019 has been an interesting year to say the least. I had my worst marathon in over 3 years, traveled for 2 weeks with US Speedskating to beautiful northern Italy and travelled halfway around the globe to India to see my best friend marry his bride.

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In January I went to Disney World to complete my 3rd Disney marathon. I can honestly admit that I find it hard not to ride everything I can and criss-cross the park to feel like I “accomplished” it all. Needless to say, that may not lead to a great marathon on tired legs. Unfortunately I found myself in a decent amount of pain the day prior to the race. I did the best I could to rest and recover but at this time, it was too late. The first mile may have been one of the most uncomfortable I have run in a very long time. I had two options: be mad and drop out or do something I would never do ordinarily and take as many pictures with characters and landmarks as I could and enjoy the experience. I had to go with the latter. I had a great time in the end and some really fun pictures.

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In February I travelled to northern Italy with US Speedskating. The junior team decided to pick up a World Cup competition. This lead to me being away longer than I would have ever done on my own, but I could not pass up this great experience. Baselga di Pine was an amazing backdrop to the competition. Two weekends of races meant a lot of work on my part. Treatments started after breakfast and lasted until after dinner. To my great relief, the team was willing to let me get a run in over my lunch or in the afternoon.
I had the most amazing runs of my life. I cannot lie that they were the same path almost every day, but the sights and sounds were out of this world. Donkeys and dogs, horses and chickens; it was almost like I was embraced and given a giant bear hug from the Trento region. I got to see so much and experience life of a local.
The racing by our athletes was also amazing. The ice was fast, but dangerous; therefore the crashes were not to be taken lightly. I was really pleased that I had two weeks to work with the team. That gave me enough time to get some real changes before their big events.

Before I knew it, I was leaving for India. This trip came up faster than I could have imagined. I will admit that I never take off from work more than one week a year, but I couldn’t miss my best friend’s wedding. I have been to Europe before as I have worked there so I find myself more comfortable there. India left me speechless. I didn’t want to offend anyone nor did I know where I was. After a couple days of saying “I don’t know what to do”, I took a tour. After seeing life in Bangalore, I found myself more comfortable. After our guide found out I was a runner, he asked to run with my the following morning. We ran around Cubbon Park, the ‘lung’ of Bangaluru city, as well as past law buildings and the local arena. Sport in not in schools. If you show an interest, you must seek it out on your own. The local arena was a range of youth to elders, all being active at 6:30am on their “summer break” so to speak. A true sliver of life in Bangalore. It was a great way to see the city before it woke up to an onslaught of beeping motors and traffic. It was a hot, hard 10k run, but well worth it. 

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Traveling is a great treat. Sometimes you can find more beauty off the beaten path. I suggest you get comfortable being uncomfortable. Life is not pretty all the time, you may see things that are foreign and different. Embrace it. Let it make a mark on you. You will regret it if you don’t.