Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kansas City

Last week I was in Kansas City, Missouri for a 2 1/2 day conference. In addition to my business casual attire, I packed my running gear and was excited to explore a new city. Problem was, I had no idea where to run or where the "sketchy" neighborhoods were. The only thing I knew about KC was that is bordered Kansas. Since I have no idea when then next time I'll find my in KC, I got this idea into my head that it would be fun to run across the state line from Missouri to Kansas. The questioned remained, how do I do it?

This is where the power of Twitter came into play. Ryan lives in KC so I sent him a Tweet asking if he wanted to meet up and show me around. He gladly obliged and we decided that Tuesday morning would be the best time to meet up. Ryan was nice enough to pick me up at my hotel and we drove to the start of a popular KC running route. We started off by running through the Plaza district. The shops and cafes in this part of KC had a very Spanish look to them Ryan mentioned that The Plaza was modeled after Seville, Spain. I immediately noticed that we had the entire sidewalk to ourselves. Ryan mentioned two things 1) most people in KC drive everywhere and 2) The Plaza will be packed later since it is mostly a shopping district. I commented, that there are very neighborhoods in NYC where you can run on the sidewalk unimpeded at 7:00 a.m.

From there we picked up the Trolley Track Trail. Ryan mentioned that this is where most of the KC running community goes to get their miles in. I expected to see lots of runners getting their miles in before work. For the most part, Ryan and I had the trail to ourselves. Every so often we would see a fellow runner but for the most part it was pretty empty. Ryan mentioned that the trail is usually pretty crowded in the evening. During the run we chatted about running, race plans for 2011 (Ryan's are much more ambitious than mine), the New York City Marathon, Coach Jeff (we both train with him), and who knows what else.

After an out and back on the Trolley Trail, we hit some of KC's hills. Anyone who thought that KC was flat because it's in the Midwest and surrounded by prairies, is sorely mistaken. There are some serious hills in KC. After we crested the final hill and ran down the other side, we stopped and Ryan said, "here we are." "Where?" I asked. "Kansas" he replied. Really???? I was expecting one of those signs you see on the Interstate that said "Welcome to Kansas." No such luck, all I saw was this:
I was slightly disappointed that there was no sign. Ryan mentioned that since people travel between Kansas and Missouri almost every day, it's not a big deal. I travel to New York every day and there's a sign on the George Washington Bridge that says "Welcome to New York." Just today, Mrs. Ansky and I drove to Rockland County, NY and there was sign. No sign between Missouri and Kansas? WTF? At least I have this:

Anyway...we finished up our run and Ryan drove me back to my hotel. I thanked him for showing me around and we parted ways. Should you find yourself in a new city, I highly recommend trying to meet up with someone you may only know virtually. It's a fun experience and what better way to find the good running sport than from someone who lives there?

Question: How do you learn about the good running spots in a new city?

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