Running in Gramado

by Stephanie on May 7, 2011 · 0 comments

in Running, Travel

Today marked 3 weeks since I last ran.  It feels like an eternity.  If you remember, I wiped out almost a month ago and ended up with a badly hurt leg that prevented me from finishing the Chicago Lakefront 10 mile race.  I’ll give you an update on the injury soon enough, but right now I want to talk about my first run since that injury.

I’ve been in Brazil for six days.  I am here for work for two weeks but the weekend is mine.  My two colleagues/travel buddies and I are spending our free time in Gramado in the Rio Grande Do Sul state.  It’s a vacation spot for Brazilians because they like to come here to experience cold.  For the record, it was in the 60s today though I suppose it is only Fall here.  It’s a beatiful town with lots of shopping, both Mom & Pop shops and designer stores, and dozens of restaurants.  It’s considered “in the mountains here” though we’re talking more Appalachians than Rockies.  Green, tree-covered, and beautiful.

This morning I woke up at 6:40 AM even though I’m on “vacation” and I went to bed after 1 AM.  I could have slept in but i didn’t want to miss this opportunity.  This was my first chance to run on this trip.  The town where I spent the first week was a large city of 1.2 million and it was not safe to run outside.  Here in Gramado though?  No problem.

I was almost nervous starting out.  My leg is better though not complete healed and I didn’t know how it would react.  Also, it had been three whole weeks.  What if I had lost all my endurance?  What if I couldn’t get back into it?  The first half mile silenced all these uncertainties.  I started my run heading out of town and a few blocks later I could see the whole of the valley through a misty morning fog.  It was breathtaking.  I ran past a gas station, a furniture store, a chocolate factory, and a classic car showroom.  I saw locals going about there business while most of the tourists slept.  I discovered a unique tree that I’d never seen before and I later discovered it was called Araucaria. 

I ran carefully because the sidewalks are made of stone and are uneven in many places.  I ran at an easy pace and walked for a minute when I thought I felt my leg starting to hurt.  Mostly I ran with joy.  It felt good.  Seeing a new and exciting place on foot was a first for me.  I only seriously took up running last fall and this was my first big vacation since then.  In the past I never sought out exercise on vacation.  I did it in the hotel gym if I felt it was necessary.  Not anymore.  I want to see more of the world on foot, whether its close to home or in a foreign country.  I want to discover things I’d never have found if not for lacing up my running shoes.

Gramado showed me that running can be an adventure, a vehicle for discovery.  That’s a pretty great lesson to learn in 3.5 miles.  I learned one other lesson I won’t soon forget.  Next time I’m taking my camera.

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