Cardio in Cote d’Azur

Let me start by saying I hate running. I really strongly dislike it. And yet last week I found myself going for runs, on several different occasions. Why? Because it’s the perfect way to explore a city and I was actually so happy to be alive that I enjoyed the act of running. Okay, fine, I stopped to play along the way. But in between my parkour stops, I enjoyed the running. I even ran 7km one morning. Just for fun. Just because I felt good. If you know me, you’ll know that’s really impressive.

Originally, I asked the family I was staying with if there was much of a running culture in Nice, just to feel out how many people might be found playing outside. I figure “Where can I go for a run in the morning?” sounds more normal than, “Where can I climb and jump on things without being in the way?” They pointed me towards a canal nearby that ended up being perfect for me.

Like I said, I dislike running just to run but I felt so completely euphoric that morning that it felt great to run along the canal. The view definitely had something to do with that. I was looking out at the the sloping hills of red-tiled roofs and beautiful gardens, all the way down to the sparkling Mediterranean. The warm salty air was refreshing and not too hot (yet), and the sun was shining. Paradise.

I decided to run the canal once, and then circle back to the things I wanted to play on, just so I could see what my options were. Plus, I only had so much time before I had to be back for breakfast!

I ran down, smiling a big goofy grin as I drooled over the view and asked myself how I got so lucky. I finally made it to the end, did a little joint mobility and started back, excited to stop and play. There were little stone footbridges along the canal which were perfect for precision jumps. Some of them were too far, but I stopped to jump from one side of a bridge to the other several times.

There were also a few bridges along the path with metal hand railings so I added some balance challenges for myself, dancing along the railings. I love adding balance to a workout like this because it slows you down and makes your legs work in a different way when they’re already tired.

The canal was pretty wide, but it narrowed enough for a precision jump in a couple of places, from one side to the other and back again. After running along the stone edge of the canal rather than the trail, I found myself at another footbridge with a couple of steps–perfect for box jumps. I did 10 at knee height, then 10 at waist height, one right after the other. Then I found myself approaching the end of the trail.

I started balancing along the log fence at the edge of the trail, making the jump when the fence separated, and eventually made it to the end.

I walked home, about 10 minutes, and jumped in the shower before inhaling the delicious croissants my family had bought for le petit déjeuner. I couldn’t be happier.

I had gone on a run in the morning because I thought “I’ll try to be a normal person and spend the rest of the day visiting museums and doing cultural things.” But then we went to a Roman arena.

It’s like an addiction, seriously. I can’t keep my feet on the ground. If I see something, I want to climb it. And this had no interdit sign in site (plus I saw little kids climbing the lower parts). I immediately ran up to the top and did a handstand. What else would I do in an ancient Roman arena?

I was wearing ballet flats (which actually turned out to be great climbing shoes) and a nice outfit but I couldn’t help myself. It’s like dressing up a child and waiting for them to spill milk or juice on their clothes. I dressed myself up and tried to look presentable, and then got all sweaty and dirty climbing around. Oops. But I got my fix, and then finally decided to cool down and enjoy the museums and gardens. I couldn’t ask for a better day!

Looking down
Handstands, always.
Climbing in ballet flats
Queen of the mountain lalala

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