Does Running Have an Accent?
Updated: Jun 25
We've been fortunate to live in California, England, Washington DC, Atlanta, Illinois, and New Jersey. We've also had the opportunity to travel quite a bit over the years for fun or for our jobs (see our other blog post coming soon on our "day jobs"). Julie and I have done a bit of running in each of the places we've lived and looking back, it appears that running has a type of "accent" or regional aspect to it. Not the running mechanics, but the whole approach to running outdoors seems quite different in the many places we've lived.
California has some of the best weather ☀️ in the world that beckons you outside year round and there's a strong "fitness culture" in Southern California. Some of the trails and beaches in Orange County were absolutely packed on the weekends. We did a few half marathons in Long Beach and Huntington Beach and really miss being able to run so close to the water in glorious weather 🏖🏔🎉.
We moved to England 🏴 for my PhD program 🤓 and for Jules to work at the US Embassy in London. The weather was just what you’d think - overcast, gloomy, but occasionally quite nice. We were both so incredibly busy with work that we rarely got a chance to get out and run. Even thought we lived close to the University, there were not many people running often. One evening, Julie went for a run near our house through a field. A giant pheasant came bursting out of the bushes as they must have startled each other. It was not the typical wildlife we were used to, but no harm no fowl😏. Running through central London along the Thames is still something we try to do whenever can get back to visit one of our favorite cities 💫.
We loved living in Washington DC 🏛 and really enjoyed our local trails and running paths. here, people seemed very serious about their running. Everyone had smart watches and wanted to discuss all kinds of metrics (i.e. VO2 max, cadence, and tempo pacing 📊📈) we started to learn much more about the science of running here. The icy winters didn’t seem to deter many runners from getting outside, only a few extra minutes to bundle up with all the new synthetic clothing only some could afford.
We moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the middle of July🔥. Not the smartest choice, but it was a great welcome to city. It was so hot and humid that our clothes were soaked with sweat by early afternoon everyday. We lived near a major highway and we had to run along the tiny sidewalk to get to some better running trails. We learned that this particular road is one of the major truck shipping routes and carries a large percentage of freight for the entire country. These truckers 🚚 would regularly blow their horns to “cheer” us on which would cause us to jump 2-3 meters in the air and scream in terror. Now that I think about it maybe they weren’t being as friendly as I thought.
We had visited Chicago many times every summer for a large oncology conference and really enjoyed the city. The food, culture, and accessibility of the city in June enticed us to move there for my job. We found a little house to rent on a small lake - one of our favorite houses we’ve ever rented 🏡. We found amazing places to run along our little lake and through massive open fields in North Chicago. Then it got cold. Like really, really cold 🥶. We knew it got cold, but we hadn’t experienced week long spells of 5°F (-15°C) ❄️⛄️! For us native Californians, there were only about 3-4 months out of the year that were war, enough to get outside. We saved up for a treadmill and pointed it towards our frozen lake while we tried to put the miles in 🏃🏼♀️🏃🏽.
A few years ago we moved to Central New Jersey and we really enjoy living here. The typical "gym - tan - laundry" culture now seems to include running and cycling 🚴🏼♂️ as well! We met a good friend who introduced me to the world of triathlons 🏊🏼♂️🚴🏃🏽 and as we continue to train together, I think I'm hooked now! We've run a few half marathons in Atlantic City and Princeton 🏫 and are continuing to explore local trails too. We get up to New York City 🗽as much as we can. Running through Central Park across the Brooklyn Bridge 🌉 and along New York Harbor is an epic experience if you haven't already been able to do this!
Although we haven't been able to travel at all recently due to COVID-19, we hope to explore some new places to run when we can travel again. As part of our training plan, we have some great domestic and international destinations planned! Be sure to check out future blog posts on our upcoming travel adventures 🌎🌍🌏.