Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Love the smell of fried chicken in the morning-two liquor stores in one block and one STUPID Southern Run

While training for the 2011 Princess 1/2 marathon, I got the opportunity to visit one of the South's more beautiful cities.  Normally, if I really like a city--it is in Georgia.  But this time, I am making an exception.  I got to travel to Charleston, SC, for a few days for a business conference.  I absolutely loved Charleston.  I loved the buildings.  I loved the restaurants.  I loved the way the people talked (pretty much like me).  We stayed at a swanky motel downtown-The Charleston Place.  Lovely, Lovely, Lovely--It had a Pandora bead store and a Godiva Chocolate store in the Lobby.  A girl can't ask for much more than that.  I had shrimp and grits at almost every meal.  If I were to leave Georgia, I would consider, Charleston.  But I digress....

During my conference, we had a 3 hour break one day.  We had started with a breakfast meeting at 7:30 and worked until 9:30 or 10:00 and were not meeting back until just after lunch.  Well, all good and true Southerners know that Charleston is the place where the first shots rang out in the war of Northern Aggression.  I had a great plan to change and go for a two to three mile run to the park and look out to Fort Sumter and feel the stirring of my soul.

I did change, and I studied the map for runners.  At this time, I was not using a GPS watch of any kind, rather a $15 Target watch that just kept up with how long I had been running, and would tell me what time it was.  But I set out on my historical run.  I usually run with music.  I was running and making good time, it was January in Charleston, the weather was beautiful, and I suddenly realized that I was coming up on, yes, it was.....the second liquor store within the same block.  Now, I may not be a smart girl, but I don't think that is a good sign.  However, Charleston has been voted, "Most Well Mannered City",  It would have been rude to just yelp, spin around and run away....I went to the end of the block, and peek-a-boo, there were the slums.  I looked intently at my $15 watch while jogging in place, turned around and giggedity jogged away.  I went about two to three blocks and turned and continued on my merry way because Fort Sumter awaited.

I jogged and walked through a beautiful section of town, one that I had eaten dinner in the night before.  I passed on by the restaurant and kept going... and going... listening to the music, thinking about that map from the hotel room.  Suddenly I saw a sign on the side of a building that advertised that I could buy an "Eight Piece Suit for Only $100".  Hmmmm.  I had done it again.  As I found a major intersection, I turned and continued on.  Fort Sumter and the stirrings of my soul had to be somewhere.  I was running out of areas from which you could look out and see water.  I felt sure that a battle that took place off of Charleston harbor had taken place in water.  So....I kept moving.  Also, I now had no idea where my hotel was.  I knew I had not left South Carolina.  I felt like I was still in Charleston, but really, had no way of knowing.  I was beginning to lose steam.  All along I had been walking a minute or two and running three or four minutes and walking again.  Unless I got nervous, then I just ran.  I was jogging slowly, and I ran into the most glorious smell---FRIED CHICKEN.  There is nothing like the smell of hot oil and chicken being fried.  I believe that I was about to hit "the wall" but that snort of Fried Chicken grease, got me over, and kept me going....it's a Southern thang.

Shortly after that , signs began to appear, signs pointing the way to the park and visitors center.  Then, out of the haze that was my lack of water and no luna bar-after all it was only going to be a two mile run--yeah and Gillian was on a three hour tour--I saw beautiful columned homes, that one could imagine ladies and gents coming out on the second floors to watch the ships fire on the Union held Fort Sumter until they gave up-thus starting the Civil War.  I finally made it.  I stood there in awe.  I had read about it. Watched Ken Burns specials, movies, but it was something else to stand there.  I will tell you I got a bit choked up.  I was standing at a pivotal point in our nation's history

But I still had to get back to the hotel.  I thought really hard about that map.... Moved over from the point where I stood, toward the center of the park, and reoriented myself, and took off.  Within 6 minutes, I was back at the hotel.  Almost two hours since I left.  The park was a half a mile away from the hotel.  It was a real adventure--Not necessarily one I want to repeat.  I learned, I don't read those little maps that they leave in your hotel room well. I need ones that are already oriented for me, like on the computer.  These days I generally run on the treadmills if I am in a city with which I am unfamiliar.  Or maybe I could just strap my Magellan from the car to me and plug my ear phones into it and go.....its a thought!


  1. Nothing like the fear of being mugged to up your pace!

    1. Ain't it the trutfff. See you Saturday;).