I’m a runner, so whenever I am on the road, I need to hit the road. Yes, need. Sure every hotel has the obligatory fitness room which, no matter how small, always includes a treadmill, but a trip just does not feel complete to me if it hasn’t included at least one “vacation run” on the local roads.

There is no better way to see a city or town than through a runner’s eyes. Not only can I cover more ground while running than I can when simply walking those same streets, but because it is usually done early in the morning while most people are still asleep, I get an unobstructed view of the sights with no distractions. It’s a chance to plan the day and maybe discover things happening that weren’t mentioned in the New York Times “36 hours in…” article.

My family calls these runs obsessive (“Can’t you ever take a break?”), but nobody complained when my early morning runs in Washington DC enabled me to come back with the coveted limited tickets for later day entrance to the Washington Monument one morning and the Mint another, all while they were still tucked in bed.

And, Rome might not have built in a day, but I was able to drag my husband around to see it all in one day because I had already found the key spots, including Giolitti, during my early morning run.

But nowhere has my “vacation run” obsession paid off more than during a recent trip to Las Vegas. Due to a proximal hamstring strain injury, I almost missed my treasured run. My preoccupation with seeing the famous sign up close (which, as anyone who has been to Vegas knows, is not exactly in the middle of the action) was equally as strong as my usual fixation to run, and I convinced myself it was okay to ignore the pain; so a couple of ibuprofen later, there I was heading south on the strip, at 6 am, iPhone tucked firmly in belt, on the bizarrely barren sidewalks of the boulevard.

Lucky I did or I would have missed a “classic” Vegas moment. When I got to the sign, there was one other person there – another runner. After I took his picture in front of the sign, I handed him my phone to take a picture of me. He quickly snapped one when, suddenly out of nowhere, three guys pulled up in a car, one ran over to me, and got in the next shot. Had I not partaken in my “vacation run” that morning, at that time, I would not have a photo that I can show to people, smile and say, “What Happens in Vegas…”

Sometimes, it pays to be obsessed.

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DISCLOSURE: NO CONNECTION, UNPAID, NOT MY OWN

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