Guest post by Long Runs and Late Night Snacks
A couple of years ago, my sister and I read an amazing article in Runner’s World about a 4 day, 42 mile, inn-to-inn running trip through Marin County, California. The author ran on trails from Sausalito to Inverness, while a taxi transported his luggage to his accommodations for the evening. Once at his hotel, he relaxed, ate great meals and hung out in hot tubs. A running vacation! Like, running AND vacation – only my two favorite things. What a great idea. We had it in the back of our minds to book our own someday.
Then, in May of this year, my sister decided to up and move to London. Very rude of her, but I still wanted to get in some quality time before she left for the land of fish n’ chips. Recalling our plan to do a running vacation, I convinced her we needed to make it happen.
After a little research, we settled on a 5 day, 75 mile, lodge-to-lodge trip (camping was a little too intense for me) through the Superior Mountains of Minnesota. The trip was planned by Adventure Running Company, a husband and wife operation that offers a number of running tours throughout the year.
We put down our deposits and were beginning to make plane reservations when, a few weeks before the trip, Adventure Running Company informed us that the trip was canceled, due to lack of interest. Many people I had told about the trip found this hilarious. It went something like this – “You two are the only crazy cats who would book a vacation where you have to run 75 miles – of course there’s a lack of interest!”
Well, the joke was on you, naysayers, because we went ahead and planned our very own running vacation. And it was awesome.
First we had to pick an area. My mom, also a runner, decided she wanted in. We narrowed it down to somewhere near DC, where my sister lives, and the approximate half-way point between Brooklyn and Pittsburgh (where my mom lives). Many ideas were thrown around, but we decided on Charlottesville, VA, for its abundance of trails and proximity to other, non-running activities. Below is a short summary of how it went.
Monday: I met up with my sister in DC and we did a speed workout and then drove in her clunker down to our hotel in Charlottesville to wait for our mom. We stayed at the adorable Clifton Inn, an old mansion turned hotel.
Tuesday: We drove out to Shenandoah National Park and ran up a mountain. It was a beautiful trail, but a bit rocky.
Wednesday: We kept it rugged but a little less mountainous and ran on the Rivanna Trail, which surrounds the city of Charlottesville.
We even came across some wildlife. Yikes!
Thursday: Some people were tired of roughing it (gawd, Mom!) so we went to a paved section of the Rivanna trail for our last day.
Overall, the trip was amazing. We felt great about being lazy, because we had put in our miles in the morning. We also had plenty of time to try other activities, like visiting Monticello
And wine tasting!
With our very own running vacation behind us, I have some tips for all you readers out there who may want to plan your own.
- First, decide whether you want to do a point-to-point trip or have a home base, like we did – the former is a lot more difficult to plan and you’ll have to find a way to transport your luggage.
- Pick an area where there is varied terrain and great scenery. We were able to get in a little bit of everything.
- Get in touch with local running groups – they have the best insight into the local scene. Before we left, I used the Charlottesville’s Trail Running Group’s website for ideas. Local running stores can also be good resources – we stopped into Ragged Mountain Running Shop on our trip.
About Me: I’m a 20-something Brooklyner, runner and late-night snacker. I blog about running, running and sometimes food. Check me out at Long Runs and Late Night Snacks!