Think of this run as more of a fast hike or explore. Maybe you’ll find a good rum shack to return to later.
My most vivid memories of a destination is when I’ve made the effort to go out for a run. No I didn’t say for a rum I said for a run. True, I go out far more often for rum, routinely with similar results. Hear me out. The objective of going out for this type of run is not for exercise, though it’s a nice side benefit, but to get your head around a place, meet the locals and bring back some marvelous memories.
I run a lot. I rum a lot too. As a recently retired ultra-marathoner, my workouts ate up huge miles. Sometimes 80 miles a week, which gave me a lot of time to think this whole parallel theory through. It’s a side effect of my obsessive personality. The run I’m recommending for you is the tourist run. They are far different.
Lace up your shoes, they don’t have to be amazing running shoes, just protective. You are not going to run especially hard. You might want to consider a backpack. You can put some water in it and a camera, maybe even a small hand towel to dry off a bit (leave the rum bottle behind for later). Think of this run as more of a fast hike or explore. Maybe you’ll find a good rum shack to return to later.
Some of my greatest trip memories include this type of tourist run. Like when I ran up to the castle over looking Ljubljana, Slovenia as dogs barked at me and the sun cracked over the horizon. A twelve mile jog to the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok as the nasty odors of the Thai capital filled my nose. A Sunday ten miler in Paris, where I was on fire and was passing roller bladders along the Seine. And a drowsy morning in Key West as the street zamboni cleaned up Duval from the revelry from the night before.
This type of running is about getting out and seeing things for yourself. Smelling the air, seeing the details you miss as you wiz by in a car, tasting the food in the street carts, and hearing life of your host culture unfold around you. You’ll also get to know your way around much better. When you are running you get a much deeper sense of place.
When you bring the backpack, you can stow a camera. Stop and shoot it! Cameras do no good if they are tucked away. Run with it in your hand for a time. Hopefully, you are not running alone. Take pictures of each other. Explore! Mike and Rebecca from Zero to Cruising recently went for a run in their new hurricane home in Grenada to get some exercise and the lay of the land. Perfect example.
So why are rumming and running the same? I get similar results, that’s why. When I’m in search of a good rum shack in the Caribbean I don’t go where everyone else goes. I go searching. Down side streets I didn’t know existed. I ask the locals where they drink, I say hello, their dogs bark at me. I get a deeper sense of place.
When I finally find that rum shack, I make lots of new friends. They tell me other cool places to hang out and even invite me back to their place. Who is this crazy guy coming to drink with us? I pull my camera out of the backpack. Pictures of all my new friends! I won’t remember them, or where I was, tomorrow without the pictures most likely. I buy some rounds and end up in the bathroom puking. I get to smell the wonderful local aroma, just like my run in Bangkok. You seeing the parallels yet?
Rumming and running are polar opposites which fit the mold of Yin and Yang. I run to stay in shape so I can drink. Running is the most efficient exercise I know to get physically ripped. Drinking straight rum is the most efficient way I know to get mentally ripped. This is really making sense now. I’m started to convince myself. The two balance each other. There is no need for the in between when you can both party your ass off and run it off the next day. If you can handle ten rounds at night and pop off a ten miler in the morning, you are officially a stud(ette) in my book. If you find yourself doing too much rumming, you have a problem. If you find yourself doing too much running, you’re an ultra-marathoner and you also have a problem.
To be a good runner you have to be physically fit. To be a big rummer you need to be fiscally fit (or have lots of friends to buy you drinks). Running is a very social sport, runners tend to hang out together. Rummers are a very social people as well. We tend to hang out on islands together, wear no shoes, appreciate a good bikini, can tell you the best place for a Roti, and have at least one favorite hat we are passionate about.
My case has been made. I’m sure of it. Before you head south for vacation I suggest you go out for a few runs (you’ll also look better in a swim suit) and practice your rum drinking. When you run into Mike and Rebecca at Roger’s Ramshackle Bar on Hog Island, Grenada buy them a rum and they’ll tell you the best routes to run on the island. I’ll stay behind in the bar, I’m officially retired from the running game.
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