I am beyond excited to share with you today my “Running around the world” series post #4!No idea what i am talking about? Check it out here. I am so so happy with how much everyone liked these series!! This time, we are travelling, somewhere super warm and super pretty, to meet Alison, also known as The Running Princess! No better place for us to go on a summer day 🙂
Let’s see where we are going…
Hi, I’m Allison. I’m an English teacher in Scotland and I love to run, however I only found running as an adult, having done no sport whatsoever when I was younger. I began running because I wanted to raise money for charity after the death of my gran and knew I needed to set myself a challenge. Before long I found myself bitten by the running bug! At first I found 5k slow and tough, I couldn’t understand how anybody could ever run further, but these days I’m running much further and faster with 8 marathons under my belt and numerous other races. If you’d told me that when I first started, I would have thought you were mad!
(After the Paris Marathon in 2016)
I run for a variety of reasons: I like the time alone to clear my head, I like the camaraderie of being part of a community and I like the challenge of seeing if I can improve my times. But one of the things I LOVE about running is that it gives me the opportunity to visit new places. My husband and I have often joked that our “weekends away” are all centered around races, and I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have visited Paris quite so many times if it wasn’t to run the marathon!
Which brings me to the topic of this post: running in Florida. Although I’m in Scotland, running in central Florida has become an annual event as my parents have a house there (yup, I know I’m really lucky!). I head out there for a holiday every year not to visit Mickey Mouse, but to relax and recharge in the sun. And since both my husband and my dad are also runners, it’s natural that running would creep into our trip!
In fact, going for a run is one of the things I enjoy most during my holiday. At home I usually have to run in the evening after work, but when I’m away I like to get up early and run before the heat builds up. Running around the streets where we stay when they’re peaceful and it just feels like the world is waking up is such a good way to start the day. The temperature is a bit different to Scotland which can make a run seem harder than usual, but when I get home again all that “heat training” can make my regular runs feel so much easier 🙂
(Early morning before a race at the National Training Centre in Clermont)
Although the main race season in Florida is during the winter months when the weather is a bit cooler, there are still plenty of options for those looking for a more organized run. There’s probably a 5k race happening somewhere in the state just about every weekend (we normally mange to drum up a couple while we’re there) and there’s even a parkrun in Clermont so parkrun tourists can still get their fix. I’ve not yet had a Floridian parkrun experience, but I have run a 5k race which takes in a pretty similar route, and I can recommend the beautiful lakeside location.
An interesting thing is that while I would NEVER win a prize at a race in Scotland, I’ve regularly found myself placing in my age category when racing in Florida, possibly because the categories cover narrower age brackets – this summer I even found myself finishing as second female overall in a race which was a massive surprise!
Those travelling from cooler climes (such as the UK) definitely need to be aware of the impact of the weather on their running, especially in the summer. It WILL be hot, and this will make it harder to run at your normal pace. You’ll also sweat much more so it’s important to make sure you keep well hydrated, and consider carrying a drink even on shorter runs unless you’re well acclimatized. Think about what you’re going to wear too – no need for long tights or thick tops in July! If you head out for a run on the road, remember that traffic will be on the opposite side of the road from in the UK, so make sure you pay attention and check twice before crossing roads. Oh, and watch out for the wildlife! I’ve never run in an area where I would be likely to see a gator (although never say never!) but it’s not unusual to spot a crane or perhaps an armadillo!
If you do get the chance to visit Florida, I would definitely recommend looking out for a race to run. I’ve always found other runners to be really friendly (oddly enough, I’ve regularly met runners wearing vests from Scottish clubs out there) and it’s great fun seeing some of the differences between racing in the UK and racing at home: don’t be surprised if the national anthem is played before the race begins, expect an ENORMOUS medal (even for a 5k) and if you’re really lucky there will be an amazing post-race spread – I’ve even had barbecue and beer at 8am after a 5k! Now that has to be worth the early start!
Huge thank you to Alison for sharing her story with us 🙂
Till next time with other exotic (and not) running destination!!
Any one who has a running story from ANYWHERE in the world that would like to be part of these series is welcome!! Shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a tweet or a Facebook or an Instagram message! Also if you would like to connect with other runners from all over the world you can join our -open to all- Facebook group 😀