Naturally, one of my first orders of business upon arriving in Latvia was to figure out where I can run. To my delight, there is no shortage of running paths in Riga, and even more exciting is that Riga has quite a large running community. I had been a bit worried that a woman running, often alone, and sometimes with a dog, might be a strange sight here, but it is not. I am surrounded by runners everywhere I go, and M. and I have already found quite a few trails during our first week here. They have provided the perfect avenue (literally!) for exploring the city on foot.
Our hotel is situated on the west bank of the Daugava River with easy access to running trails on either side of the river and to the bridges that connect them. The Daugava River Trails (my unofficial name for them) offer gorgeous views of Riga, from different angles and perspectives. Frieda loves them, too!
Last weekend, we found a great loop from our hotel on the west bank of the Daugava River and heading south for a while, crossing the river back to the east side, and heading north again, eventually crossing back over to the west side of the river. In total, it was about five miles.
In addition to views of churches and towers, there are many notable statues, unique buildings, and works of art to see on the run in Riga.
Besides those along the Daugava River, there are running and bike paths throughout the west side of the city. Near our hotel, they connect to a huge park and provide an easy way to run to the small river island of Kīpsala, where we will eventually be living.
Here, the cable-stayed Vanšu Bridge connects Kīpsala and Old Riga in front of the Presidential Palace, where, in just a few days, the street will be filled with thousands of runners- including yours truly- for the Riga Marathon.
As is usual for me in the days leading up to a marathon, I am feeling woefully underprepared… typically that’s not much more than a feeling of pre-race jitters and lack of confidence, but in this case, I actually am undertrained, thanks to my knee and leg challenges earlier this winter. In fact, my entire training cycle has felt more like a taper, with a couple of long runs and a lot of unnecessary carbohydrates sprinkled in. My hamstrings are a bit tight and there is a little hot spot on the medial side of my left patella, but as long as things stay loose and comfortable, all should be well. I have no grand expectations or goals for Sunday, other than simply to enjoy the day in spite of the predicted rain. And with views like these to take in, race day will at the very least be a beautiful sightseeing tour of my new home city on foot.
Thanks for reading!