I can’t sit still, even on vacation. I don’t want to spend my free time shopping or going to movies or playing board games.
I want to get outside, move and sweat.
But what’s it like to take a running-themed vacation, where the focus is on running? Would I really want to run every day for five days? On my days off?
To find out what it’s like to go on a “runcation,” I signed up for a five-day trip to Bend, Oregon, with Austin-based Rogue Expeditions.
Then I started to worry. I haven’t been running, thanks to a lingering case of plantar fasciitis. I can count on one hand the number of runs I’ve done the last year. I’m not exactly a fast runner, either. Middle-of-the-packer describes me just fine.
But, heck. It’s my Year of Adventure. What’s the worse that could happen?
The trip began with a shakeout run along the Deschutes River outside of Bend. Our group of eight loaded into a van each morning, and company co-founder Gabe Steger drove us to the day’s trail. Each day, we could choose our own distance. I took the shorter option nearly every day, running between 4 and 8 miles at a time. Others ran farther, but distance and speed didn’t matter. I ran at my own pace.
Our run lineup included routes in Smith Rock State Park, along the McKinzey River and to at least a dozen different waterfalls.
Highlights? Grabbing the hands of two of my new-found running buddies and leaping into a 37-degree, marble-blue lake. Running, by myself, along a pine-needle strewn trail beneath towering Ponderosa pines. Flopping on my back at the end of a long run, winking up at the sky and feeling that delicious tiredness in my legs. And did I mention the breweries? Bend is known for them.
In the end, my plantar fasciitis never bothered me. I rolled an ankle one day, but not badly enough to stop me from running (very gently) the rest of the trip. I just took it easy.
We ran. We ate healthy food, we hung out by a hot tub, we toasted marshmallows over a fire.
I’m heading back to Austin today. I’m pretty sure this runcation did something most vacations don’t – it jumpstarted my return to running. For that I’m grateful.
Look for my story soon in the travel section of the Austin American-Statesman.