Thursday, May 4, 2017

Solo running in Venice

Packing for an international trip is always tricky..

Am I going to pack 10 shirts and only wear 2...
Am I going to pack cute pants and only end up wearing the same pair of workout leggings?!
... I really want to run so I must pack run shoes (as I have been trying not to wear them otherwise).. but then i need run clothes and now my suitcase is busting!


But I had them and committed to be active on this trip.  We rowed through the Grand Canal and biked from Florence to Fiesole but I also wanted to run when I could.

Had a chance to run in Venice and Rome and it did not disappoint. For anyone contemplating running on vacation... Do it!  You won't be disappointed.  It is one of the best ways to see the city!

First, lets talk about safety.  I feel like anytime we told anyone we were going to Italy.. you are bombarded with "be safe"  "so many pick pocketers"  "don't be alone."  And while I completely appreciate people being concerned, I also believe I can take precautionary steps to be safe.

Things I recommend (and let's remember I am no expert so these are not canonized in the Running Bible or anything)
  • Running in the daylight is definitely preferred
  • Keep your phone with you.  Even if you don't get cell, the GPS should work when in Maps. 
  • If you must run with headphones, run with one and keep them low.. or better yet,  soak up your new surroundings
  • While the streets were pretty empty where I ran, running amongst people definitely decreases your chances of being abducted.  Depending on where you are, definitely keep that in mind. 
  • Check what the local customs are and what is appropriate to run in.  I know some Middle Eastern countries have traditional standards that might not be met in the "normal American running outfit."
  • Running with a buddy always increases your safety but when you can't... keep high alert of surroundings!

First full day we had, i got up early and went for a run.  I think I left the apartment a little before 7am when my parents were leaving too.  We stayed in a residential area of Venice (which strongly contributed to why it was my favorite city) and there were hardly anyone out in the morning.  Few locals with dogs and street merchants were rolling their carts around.   It was so peaceful and really awesome to experience Venice with very few people.

I had my phone (as demonstrated with all the pics i took) but tried to just follow the signs from our place to Rialto and then San Marco.  I knew the general direction of Rialto as we went there the day before and then planned to follow the signs down to the square.   Got to Rialto with only a few dead ends and found it relatively empty still. 

The canal was so peaceful as the city was waking up.  Kept plugging along and got to Piazza San Marco.  The pigeons out numbered the people.  Turned toward the water and it was the first sign of major tourism.  Venice is kindof known to be overrun with tourists and the drag of hotels south of the square near the Vaperetto stops were definitely already congested which made me appreciate where we stayed.
Hung out around the square for a bit, cked out the basilica and then was going to take the Vaparetto back but thanks to it still being early, there wasn't an express.  We had a Doges Palace private tour that morning and I had to high tail it back to the apt, shower and get back down to San Marco in like 90 minutes.  I realized that running would be faster than the slow boats so made my way back through the city.  I had a few more dead ends running back and it was only when I got back to the hotel and looked at a map that i realized i didn't need to run over the Rialto AT ALL!  Oops... got some good pics so worth it :)  You can see i realized that after running around in San Polo for a while on my Garmin map!  haha

Made it back to a slightly jet lagged husband and son... Rushed back down to San Marco and made it to the meeting point literally seconds after the last chime rang from the clock!   Perfection!

They say to get lost in Venice and enjoy each little bridge and small street... so do it while getting your run in!  Next up ... Rome!