Buenos Aires for Runners Part 2 – On the Run

1. Do not trust the sidewalk (especially not in the morning)

You should notice this your first day in the city.  What is considered a “road runner”in the US is almost nonexistent in Buenos Aires.  The runners here have good reason for not running on the sidewalks…they are treacherous.  The sidewalks are a mix of tile, concrete or whatever material was available at the time of construction.  Furthermore, they are laid on top of a dirt base so when it rains the dirt washes away.  What is left is a four sided tiles with only two or three of them supported at any time.  When you run here think of it as trail running.  Keep your steps short and don’t trust the footing.  Also, beware of dog waste.  People love their pets here but don’t know what dog bags are; its a suicide mission on every run so just keep that in mind.

2. Change your watch to kilometers and forget about it.

You are in BUENOS AIRES ! Take the city in for all that it is! As I am sure you noticed there is public art and amazing architecture everywhere you look, thus there should be little to no reason why you should look down at your splits.  Don’t worry about them and just get sucked into whats around you.

3. Take a handlheld 

You will notice that people do not drink water on the run here, which is fine.  But, if you are from the US and not used to humidity just error on the side of caution.  It can be 43 F, but with 80%-90% humidity and that will suck you dry even though it feels like the exact opposite.  Also, the city is laid out in odd patterns so don’t be shocked if you find a “parallel street” just took you way further out than you intended to go. Be prepared and stay safe.

4. Look and Act like a runner

In the US, many of us roll out of bed to go our for a run and wear whatever we find.  Heck people even roll out Rocky I style with the sweat pants and top…in Buenos Aires don’t.  People here care about their appearance at all times and that includes when they run.  It is not odd to see 9 out of 10 women in BA wearing a complete Nike, NorthFace or Salomon kit with matching headgear.  By taking a few extra seconds you will blend better and be less likely to attract unwanted attention.

Acting like a runner means being aggressive.  There are many pedestrians on the street and all over Buenos Aires, most people who live in the city do not own a car, so it is important that when you are running let people know you are there and that you are moving quickly.

5. If you have a GoPRO or camera…take it with you

There is a shocking amount of beautiful art in the city including street art.  The whole area of Liberator is buzzing with architecture, libraries, museums and beautiful monuments to honor not only Argentina but also global personalities.  For example, I stepped in a puddle of mud because i was admiring a bust of Louis Braille.  Obviously…be discreet about your picture taking…quick shots and keep running.  By finding places during the run you also create a mental list of places you want to visit.  Every tourist site tells you to do “blank” or visit “blank” but if on the run it does not seem exciting or its isolated you will know which to cross or keep on the list.

6. Speak English

Buenos Aires people are used to spanish (duh!).  As you walk around the city you will notice an array of sounds that at first seem loud but in a few days will become background noise.  Carports beep loudly, honking cars, screaming vendors, etc.

As runners we know that sometimes we need to call someone’s attention to let them know which way we intend to pass whether its head on or behind them.  Buenos Aires people hear so many noises all day that your “disculpa” or “izquierda” is just another buzz they will ignore.

I attempted to alert a group of school age children I was approaching (in spanish) and accidentally rubbed one with my elbow.  This 10 year old girl used the most intense and creative profanity I had ever heard in spanish.  So, i started playing dumb and calling it out in English and everything changed.  I called out “heads up”, “left”, “right” or “holy Sh***” and people listened.  They moved out of my way and I would even get smiles.  They like showing off their city to tourists…locals…not so much.

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