Philadelphia Training: Rocky Style
It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the Rocky movies, and I may get some flack for not finding them all good in the first place. However, they are certainly iconic, and Rocky’s training run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum is perhaps one of the most iconic images in our sport. The magic of the moment was amplified by Sly’s donation of the bronze statue to the City of Philadelphia, where it is now on display outside of the museum. This past week, I traveled to the city of Brotherly and Sisterly Love for a professional conference. Hotel rates were rather ridiculous for my meager professional development budget, but airbnb came through with a great apartment at a great price. As an added bonus, I was less than a mile from the Schuylkill River Trail!
I arrived on Wednesday, and managed to squeeze in five runs while I was there, which I was quite pleased with overall. I was determined not to let my training slip in preparation for the Flatrock 101K, and I also just love running in new cities. As I’ve indicated before, running can be the best way to explore a new environment. Since I was previously in Philly for another work-related trip, I had already explored much of the downtown area. This mean I was free to run along the river trail and focus on tempo, pacing, and enjoying some more scenic views. It also meant that I passed by the Philadelphia Art Museum on every run, so naturally I had to take my turn running up those iconic stairs.
Each day provided me with new observations about the trail I was on, and it was fascinating to see how the route became so comfortable after such a short amount of time. I’ve always been good at quickly adapting to a new environment, and I felt as though this happened even more quickly as a result of my many miles on foot! I began to notice the people more, the insane number of dogs (if my route was any indication, then everyone in Philadelphia must own two dogs:) ), and the little details that make this particular trail such an attraction for area runners and walkers.
The trail also passes by several historic rowing houses, and there was a high school crew competition taking place on Sunday. It was fun to watch everyone out on the water, plying their craft, while fans stood on the shore cheering them on. I had no idea that rowing was such a popular high school sport in the area!
Overall, the trip afforded me a nice balance of intellectual and physical engagement, and as always, running proved to be a great way to decompress after a long day of work (or in this case, attending educational paper presentations, and presenting myself). Philadelphia may not be high on my list of enjoyable cities, but the 70+ miles I logged while I was there were a nice complement to the academically rewarding trip!