The Czech Republic is well behind us at this point, as yesterday we flew to Amsterdam, met up with our friend from the States (who we met in Guatemala), hopped in a rental car, and drove to Belgium. Matt wrote up his race summary from the Prague marathon, but I wanted to write a few more highlights about the four days we spent there.
The City – Nearly every person we talk to about Prague either has had a fondness for the city or a desire to visit it, and it’s easy to see why. It’s easy to get around the city on foot or on the metro, it’s a clean and friendly city, and there are some amazing views if you’re willing to climb several steep staircases. Our hotel was between two huge public parks with dirt paths for running, and on Monday we attended a Cello competition as part of the Spring Music Festival. The two hour set of classical music songs was both unique and entertaining. While I liked the city and our visit, I can’t see having the desire to go back, especially when I know how much I like other cities like Madrid, Spain.
The Race – Fortunately, I went into the race without any lingering effects from the Madrid marathon. I started off slow and kept a steady, comfortable pace until about 10k to go. Once I had less than six miles to go, I picked it up, passed the 3:45 pacer group that I’d kept in sight for the entire race, and just tried to pass as many people as I could. I felt tired by the end, but not pooped, and have since only had sore joints from the hard cobblestones on the course. I’m a little nervous that we have another marathon in just four days, but I’ll stick to my tactic of starting out slow and staying slow unless the energy kicks in to pick up the pace. I know I’m far away from racing shape and that I need to shed a few gelato-induced pounds, so for now I’m just focusing on enjoying the races and burning the extra Italian calories.
The Visit – Our visit with Rumblestrip did not disappoint. As always, we had plenty of questions for him ranging from information about his life as a Mennonite in Ohio, his life on farms in Hungary, and his ideas for future travels and trails. He is an incredibly interesting person due to the perspectives he had before hiking the AT, after hiking, and now after traveling abroad. I’m sure he was glad to be moving on from Prague because it was quite the Q&A session for four days, with us asking the majority of questions. His next stop is a farm in Ukraine, with ideas of going to the United Arab Emirates, and maybe even a stint in the circus. He has a zest for life that is rare to find in a person, and a desire to live it all, so it was refreshing to be around a person with such positive energy, and who knows no boundaries to his possibilities.
The Beer – Unfortunately, for all those beer-loving friends of ours, I’m still not converted. Rumblestrip and I tried two different beers at one of the local restaurants near our hotel, and I couldn’t even get through half of it. Something about the smell and the taste of beer just doesn’t do it for me. The only upside to ordering the beers was that they were cheaper than ordering water.
Those were the highlights from our time in Prague. I had a wonderful time seeing the city, running the marathon, and spending time with Rumblestrip, but was ready to move on. It’s time to explore a few more cities, run another race, and spend some quality time with our friend Joe from the States.