Taking an entire week off from running is nearly unheard of for me. Unfortunately, I’ve been nursing a nagging hamstring issue that I developed while preparing for the Boston Marathon earlier this spring. Despite giving it nearly three weeks of rest prior to the race, it’s yet to fully recover. This has been a cause for concern, especially with my sights set on some shorter races in the near future. The worry is that without complete healing, I risk reinjury, a challenge that comes with my not-so-youthful agility. While it’s not much of a bother during my longer, more leisurely runs, any attempt to pick up the pace or engage the track immediately brings it to my attention. So, during my recent vacation, I decided to seize the opportunity and give it a rest. If you’ve ever been to Portugal, particularly the city of Porto, you’d know that despite my break from running, I still managed plenty of hilly walks.
In the midst of my non-running week, I had the pleasure of catching up with a friend I’d met through running. András and I first crossed paths on our inaugural trip to Porto right after the Covid restrictions were lifted. He led trail runs through Airbnb, and I eagerly signed up. When I share this story, people often give me quizzical looks. It’s not every day that you have a stranger pick you up, drive you thirty minutes away from where you’re staying, and lead you on a run through rugged Portuguese trails. Such an adventure might be considered unconventional back home. Since that run, András and I have maintained our friendship, and I was elated that our paths crossed again on this trip. Running has a unique way of forging connections, and forming a friendship across the Atlantic through running is something quite special. We enjoyed a delightful dinner at András’ house, catching up on his recent races (which he dominated) and his impressive running feats. Earlier this year, he clinched 92nd place at the World Trail Championships, conquering a grueling 100k on terrain that would be daunting for most. In that race, he sported a pair of Altra Lone Peak’s that I’d brought him on our previous visit. I traveled with a fresh pair for him, and I’m eagerly anticipating the incredible runs he’ll conquer in them next.
On a side note, if you’re seeking an extraordinary travel destination, I can’t recommend Portugal highly enough. It’s just a hop across the coast, almost everyone speaks English fluently, and you can navigate the country even without a car. What’s more, the cost of living is considerably lower than back home. It’s a must-visit!
Thanks for being a part of my running journey!