I got back from Tucson on a Sunday afternoon, and had two whole days to try to reorient myself to Iowa, catch up on grading and emails, and pack for trip #2. Alas, the grading piled up quicker than I could tackle it but that project is still in the works. My next trip was to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the National Women’s Studies Association annual conference, where I was presenting a paper. Happily, the epicurean decided to join me on this trip, although I have a feeling the destination had a little something to do with it.
Packing running clothes/shoes for a work trip is always a challenge since I try to pack light and efficient, but I managed to fit everything into my carry-on suitcase and messenger bag, which was quite the accomplishment for a 6-day trip. The schedule for this conference was more packed than many I had been too, so I knew my time would be tight, and I might not have that many opportunities to explore the area on foot. However, I still managed to squeeze in three nice runs, along with plenty of walking around the island.
We spent the first 4 days at the conference hotel and convention center, which was a bit isolated and surrounded by other hotels and resorts. The area was quite beautiful, but my running options were somewhat limited so I made the most of them around the area. Despite limited options, the warm temperatures and ocean views made everything else more than acceptable 🙂
It was amazing to feel the difference that the heat and humidity made, and it became quite clear that my body had forgotten about the heat pretty quickly. I might not have had to deal with any elevation changes, but my breathing was still more labored than normal. After 4 days on the resort side of the city, we moved to a boutique hotel in Old San Juan for the final two days. This gave us a chance to explore the city much more, including several old Spanish forts that provided amazing views of the ocean. Both the epicurean and I are huge history nerds, so exploring the historical buildings, forts, and walking the area was quite a thrill. We spent most of the last two days walking up and down the hilly cobblestone streets, which meant working up quite a sweat. Don’t worry, though, because we made sure to stop for cool drinks and frozen yogurt on plenty of occasions 🙂
Overall, the trip itself was amazing. I enjoyed my running opportunities, and the historical locations we explored were incredible. However, San Juan is an incredibly expensive city, and isn’t overly running friendly. As with many islands, space is limited in the city and the roads are narrow and uneven. I wished I had been able to take a trip out to the rain forests, but time was not on our side, and we were both a bit scared of the Chikungunya virus outbreak as well. In the end, it’s hard to complain with 85-degree weather in November, and a tropical destination coupled with amazing food. San Juan was certainly a travel win!