One more day at work and then I'm off to the States for a couple of weeks (Seattle and San Francisco). My training plan says that I should aim to do a race around the end of the month and after consulting the excellent Running in the USA website (it's amazing just how many races there are and how well organized everything seems to be) I found a race in San Francisco around Lake Merced on the 25th of August - perfect! I think it will be fun to rock up as an "international" (mind you, I have no illusions about how well I will do - there are some seriously fast runners who have taken part in the past, including some quite well known ones from the ultra circuit).
I really enjoy running in other countries. It probably sounds unbelievably sad, but some of the most lasting memories I have of a holiday abroad are the runs I have gone on. There is something so exhilarating about just setting off in a random direction, seeing slices of life and discovering places along the way that are perhaps worth visiting later with the family. In Kyoto, I remember it being so humid that I would run with ice cubes wrapped in a towel around my neck and have to stop every kilometer or so to buy a drink from the ubiquitous vending machines. In Khajuraho (India), people would cycle alongside me and ask me (in a very friendly way) whether they could have my trainers when I had finished with them. I still remember a very picturesque run along the Danube in Budapest that I did several years ago, as if it were yesterday. Or running in Central Park (New York) at night and seeing a couple of raccoons. I have also run in Florianópolis (Brazil), Lisbon, Mexico DF, Cambridge, London, Brighton, Odense (Denmark), Rome and Paris, not to mention various other cities in Spain. Not a bad tally for less than 4 years.