Nearly-Summer Exploration: Greensboro, Durham

On Friday, I’m heading to Atlanta for work (haven’t been there since a college track meet where I spent most of the trip trying not to get sunburned at Emory’s track), and I’ve been thinking about all the adventures on tap this summer. I’d like to write a bit about the rambling, exploring part of life (and running) that I love best. Nick and I also have a road trip planned for later this summer and are hoping to post photos and maybe some observations from the road.

While I don’t want to write about the kids I coach out of respect for their privacy, I did have a wonderful adventure two weekends ago at New Balance Outdoor Nationals. I headed down with my DMR and superstar 2-miler. I was a little bit worried about being tired from the flight/coaching/meet adrenaline, but as has happened so many times in my coaching life, the meet itself provided more than enough energy. Aside from successes on the track, some of my favorite moments from the weekend were connecting in a more adult-to-adult way with a graduating senior, talking about motherhood with one of my athlete’s moms, and getting to spend a half day with my Oiselle teammates in Durham.

Allison, Ali, me pre-run (thanks for your selfie-skills, Allison!)
Allison, Ali, me pre-run

I’m (obviously) not going to blogger conferences or meeting people through my blog, but I have met a lot of really thoughtful, dedicated, and kind women through Oiselle. Ali, Allison, and Ellen were no exception. Before we met up, I was a little worried I’d be slowing them down and that spending the morning with people I’d only ever communicated with in 180-character bursts might become strained before it was time to go to the airport. Since they’re fast, I’m particularly slow right now. I’m sure I did slow them down, but the 8-mile run we did flew by. I had my first biscuit (an egg sandwich on a biscuit is pretty much the most perfect thing a pregnant lady who just ran 8 miles could imagine), and we sat talking about coaching, competing, motherhood, moving, ice cream, goals, and even, strangely, mutual acquaintances for hours.

Durham is beautiful. Lush green, densely forested running trails, biscuits available at nearly every restaurant. I’d have loved to have more time to see Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Sometimes when I travel I get this antsy, nervous feeling that there is so much more of the place I’ve been still undiscovered. Having a rental car on this trip let me explore what Greensboro is all about a bit more than the track and the meet hotel/convention center revealed (on a side note: I came up with a brilliant plan to find a safe, if yuppie-filled, neighborhood while traveling: google the nearest Whole Foods), eat Krispy Kreme donuts for pre-run fuel (can’t be running on an empty stomach these days), and get nostalgic for family vacations of my youth. (Why, I’m not exactly sure since we never went to Greensboro and I don’t even remember ever going to the South, but something about the clean strip-mall suburbia of a lot of newer cities reminds me of the suburbs of Kansas City where I first lived, or of the towns we stopped in on the way to or from college visits all those years ago.)

In Atlanta, though I’ll be there with my boss and will be attending panels each day, I do anticipate having some time to myself to explore. I don’t mind eating alone (much prefer it to networking dinners), and hope to leave feeling like I’ve seen more than Olympic Park and the CNN Headquarters. Any suggestions on routes to run, things to see, places to eat? I likely will not have access to a car, and will be staying right downtown, but I’m resourceful and unafraid of either cab fare or public transportation if for the cause of thorough exploration.

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