If you’re anything like me, then you no doubt spend most of the year looking forward to those couple of weeks when you can escape from it all and recharge your batteries. It doesn’t matter what kind of holiday (or vacation, if you prefer!) you enjoy, whether it’s soaking up the rays on a sun-kissed beach, camping surrounded by the most stunning scenery or something distinctly more active, the chance to get away from our everyday lives and do something different, even for a short time, helps to keep us all sane.
I consider myself pretty lucky in this respect: not only do I have a job which affords me both the time and the finances to get away every summer, but my parents have a home in central Florida which means that all I have to do each year is grab a flight (at the best value I can find) then spend two weeks enjoying the Sunshine State (and my mum’s cooking – yum!). Sure, there’s a big wide world out there and plenty of other places to see, but I’d be a fool to miss out on this opportunity while I have it and let’s face it, by the time July rolls around, I’m usually so exhausted that all I’m looking for is some sunshine, a comfortable place to soak up the rays and a good book on my Kindle!
But a Running Princess never truly takes a break from running, even when she’s technically an injured Running Princess! Regular readers will no doubt be aware that when we’re in Florida, we enjoy taking part in some races while we’re there. It’s really interesting to look at the American approach to race organisation and compare it to our own and, of course, the opportunity to bag some “foreign” race swag will always be a draw!
One thing I find particularly interesting is that, certainly in the summer months, 5k races in the US are much more open to families so there will be lots of children and walkers involved. Yes, there will always be the super-competitive and the super-fast at the front of the field, but overall I’ve found it to be a very inclusive approach. With age categories increasing in 5 year increments from around 5 to about 85 (or however old the oldest competitor is!), many get the opportunity to win prizes which may then encourage children especially to maintain running and, in turn, a healthy lifestyle as they grow up. I’ve also noticed that, as far as the female field goes, participants seem to get FASTER with age, the fastest tending to be around 35-45. In one race my slow, plodding, injured time would actually have had me place in one of the age categories below mine, an age group which I would ordinarily consider to be filled with young, fast runners! It may be different at other times of the year, but this interesting quirk has allowed me to win age category prizes in the past, something which would never happen in the UK with the average times I run!
And then there is the other big draw for a Running Princess abroad: shopping! Almost everybody who heads to the USA from the UK hits the outlet malls to pick up some bargains, and even regular prices are often cheaper than at home (even more so when the exchange rate is good!) and I’m no exception. But where others look for designer clothing, shoes and fragrances at bargain prices, these days I’m more likely to come home with new running gear! I may be injured right now, but having some new kit to wear gives me something to look forward to once I’m able to run again! Ok, so I’m not exactly short of kit, but I like the chance to get things that are a little more unusual or which I haven’t seen at home.
One of my favourite brands is Under Armour and I usually get quite a few things in their outlet stores. This year I was true to form:
I also got myself a new pair of running shoes. I’m not quite ready for a new pair yet, but I like to have some in reserve and I LOVE the colour of these ones!
But it’s ok, I did follow the “running shoe flowchart”!
Don’t worry, a Running Princess abroad does take the time to relax. We may be having some beautiful weather in the UK right now, but there’s nothing quite like time away from home, with no distractions, to relax and enjoy the sunshine (as well as indulging in a “holiday workout”!):
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Florida without popping in to see a certain Mr M. Mouse at least once. It would be rude not to!
My break has left me refreshed and keen to get back to some training. For the moment, that will be confined to cycling, swimming and TRX workouts, but I plan to take advantage of the running “down time” to build strength and be in the best possible shape I can ready to start running again (which will hopefully be soon). I still have a few events in the pipeline and I hope to be able to take part in as many of them as possible, injury allowing, so I’m sure Future Running Princess will be grateful for the workouts I do now!
I hope you have managed to find some time to relax this summer too.
The Running Princess
What is your favourite type of holiday?
Do you run/exercise when you are away from home?
Do you have a favourite brand of kit?