Thursday, July 24, 2014

MARCO...

My wife and I are beach lovers, so most of our vacations take us away from the green hills of Pennsylvania to a beach...somewhere, anywhere.

Myrtle Beach is a favorite destination, and in October we plan to purchase a condo there as a an escape from our northeast winters, which often last from November to May.

Both my wife and I are runners, so what I call "maintenance running," maintaining fitness while on vacation, is important to us. A "runner friendly" atmosphere while vacationing is also essential.

For the past two summers we have visited the Dominican Republic. The place is beautiful, but running is not. Few runners are on the roads, and the sight of one usually invokes snickers, jeers, or downright contempt.

Not so at Myrtle Beach, where an early morning run, enjoyed by many, is greeted with waves, "good mornings," and "hellos."

Last week, we visited the beautiful city of Marco Island, in southwest Florida. Besides eating the best seafood dinners and watching the most magnificent sunsets imaginable, the running was fantastic.

Now, you could cut the humidity with a knife, and you pretty much had to be on the road by 8:00 a.m. if you didn't want to boil, but the smooth streets and sidewalks, as opposed to the pock-marked roads of my hometown, were a delight on which to run. Routes, of course, were flat, and the lack of a "crown," or slope in the road, was a welcome relief to my ailing hamstring. Off-season traffic was virtually non-existent. Drivers were courteous and cautious.

I ran 4 miles each morning, and I was greeted by friendly walkers, runners, cyclists, and roller bladers. I never ran on the beach, although the sand is hard-packed and suitable for running.

It was a great experience in a great tropical paradise.

Thanks southwest Florida!