Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Vacation Run: Finding Familiarity in a Foreign Country

One of my husband and my favorite parts of vacation is running in a new place.  It is the perfect way to see the sights from a different perspective.  So when I planned my dream trip to Ireland recently, it seemed only natural that our running gear would go with us.  I would be celebrating my 50th Birthday during our trip and decided I needed something special, (as if Ireland isn’t special enough,) to commemorate turning 50.  As I searched the usual festivals and events I came up with the idea of running a race in Ireland.  I became obsessed with finding something that fit our schedule.  I found the “almost” perfect 10K in Dublin, “The Great Pink Run”.  Like a lot of you, I love participating in a run for a charity that has a personal connection.   Almost perfect because it was taking place the day we had planned to arrive in Dublin.  Since I had not booked our flights yet I decided we could be flexible.   Actually my husband would not agree with that statement, since he had to change his vacation request to accommodate my new “I have to do this or my Birthday will be ruined” idea!

Needless to say schedules were changed and we landed in Dublin 2 days prior to race day.  We were so busy sightseeing and enjoying the Guinness, those 2 days went by quickly.  Since we didn’t have a car our 1st challenge was getting to the start soon enough.  The day started rainy and windy so naturally we had our very sturdy raincoats on.  As we stood at the bus stop trying to figure out the best route, a man approached asking if we needed help.  Thinking we were being very discreet about our dilemma, I asked him how he knew we were tourists.  Oddly enough it was our raincoats; he said Irish people don’t wear “raincoats”.  I said, “Doesn’t it rain almost every day?”  He said, “Well, we don’t stand in the rain”, fair enough!  He then proceeded to get us on the right bus and directed us to the tram stop that would take us the race start. 

As we waited, the sea of pink told us we were indeed heading in the right direction.  But, from this point on we realized we had not arrived soon enough.   While Steve got in the packet pick-up line (apparently we missed PPU the day before, I blame the Guinness) I started off in the direction of the dreaded outhouse line.   I had good reason to dread it; the line was the longest I have ever seen at a run.  Fortunately the rain had stopped, but it was chilly.  This was the 2nd year for this event and the 3000+ entries were clearly beyond what the organizers expected.    The start was delayed 40 minutes because of the “Loo” line.

As a fan of local races I was really looking forward to seeing what might be different about a race in a foreign country.   The crowds were great, the swag bag was familiar, and attendance for the awards was non-existent.   Turns out it was such a similar experience that I could have been right here in Bend.   Unfortunately for Steve, the biggest difference was the lack of post-race festive beverages.   He said, and I quote (the PG version), “We are in Ireland and there’s no beer?”   All in all it was a fun event to be a part of.  I went looking for a race in a foreign country for the new experience.   Oddly enough I came away feeling comforted by the familiarity and the unity with which running brings people together!

Written By FootZone staff member: Melanie Mangin

Want to share a local Bend run with your favorite out-of-towners? Bring them to I Like Pie on Thanksgiving Day and look for a race on your next trip!

1 comment:

Ron Deems said...

Great story Melannie, when you asked the man how he knew you were tourists are you sure he didn't answer "because you are standing at the school bus stop!". ha ha, I am so glad you had a great time and found a loo line longer than the dirty 1/2!