For most runners, there are no vacations from running, even when you are on vacation. Not only is it a great way to stretch your legs after being in a car or on a plane for several hours, running gives you the perfect opportunity to explore your surroundings and can help you plot out fun places to visit that you might not have noticed while making the drive in your car.
My dad recently moved from Cleveland, Ohio to the small town of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Never heard of Mount Airy? Most haven’t. Ever heard of Mayberry? I bet you are whistling the theme song to ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ right now, aren’t you? Mount Airy is the real life Mayberry. This is the place where Andy Griffith was born and the place that inspired the quaint and quirky town from the show.
Currently in the midst of training for a half marathon, I needed to get an 8 mile run in while visiting my dad during Labor Day weekend. I love running in new places especially since I have better runs when I’m not sure how long or far things are. I left my dad’s house and headed towards town, feeling confident and strong. Eight miles is a pretty average run for me these days so I wasn’t at all intimidated by the streets of Mayberry.
If ever there has been a place that made me feel like an inadequate runner, it is Mount Airy. No matter which way you go, what streets you take, or if you double back, you will be going uphill. Or at least that is how it feels. And not just steady incline hills, but long, steep hills that look daunting from the bottom, are exhausting half way up, and once you get to the top, guess what? You’re not at the top. I trudged along for four miles before I ended up back at the place where I began and decided to call it quits.
My route had taken me down Main Street past the tourist shops selling Mayberry gear, the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, and other attractions featuring names of places and characters in the show including Emmett’s Fix It Shop, Wally’s Filling Station, the Courthouse, and the Andy Griffith Homestead. Not many people were out and about that morning and I enjoyed the alone time. Mount Airy seems to be pretty “runner friendly” (minus the hills). On the sidewalks you will see indicators or different routes and loops you can take, some of which have the approximate distance of the loops on them.
Although I didn’t get my designated amount of miles in, I still considered it to be a great run for a vacation. Will I ever run Mount Airy again? Absolutely. I’m all about conquering runs that in the past had me gasping for breath or had me walking up hills and taking breaks every so often.