Category Archives: Traveling

Traveling and Running – 6 Tips to Explore New Places

Ever since I became a runner, I have changed the way I see the world. I pay more attention to details, I am more creative, and I love to see nature, animals, plants, trees, and new places and cities in motion.

My first breakthrough came last year (2016) when we traveled to the East Coast, and I got to run from the mountains in Tennessee to the beaches on Hilton Head Island. During that trip, I thought to myself that every city should have a running tour, as it is so much easier than creating our own tours when traveling to new places, although it feels great to be explorers.  Sacramento, for instance, has Sac Running Tours that offers two 4-mile run tours: Capital City Highlights featuring Sacramento history and places of interest and Urban Art featuring the large murals, public art, and graffiti around downtown/midtown, which I went on last year ( 2016). Both tours are $30 each. They also offer personalized tours at any distance for individuals or groups.

Last month, our family traveled to Las Vegas. This article about running while traveling is right on. In my case, I chose to run up and down the strip in Las Vegas in the morning and late afternoon to experience all its bustling, music, street shows, and lights  at my own pace.

Not many people around during my morning run.
Yet, exploring busy cities and new places takes some preparation as well as spontaneity to make your running adventures even more fun and exciting.


  1. One of the best times to explore a new place is in the morning, as it is more tranquil, less traffic, and less busy.
Treasure Island Casino before its visitors show up. The stillness of the pirate ship and the uneventful dock made me enjoy it even more while snapping a quick pic.

2. Plan your route ahead either by searching online, Strava, MapMy Run, or even better asking the front desk at the hotel you’re staying, since they know the area and will have some great recommendations.

I knew that I needed to do a 10-mile run, so I fugured that running from Westgage Hotel, where we stayed past Luxor would get me close to my running and exploration goal.

3. Try to join local runners/running groups, or simply join other runners that you come across during your run.  Around mile two into my run, I was fortunate to come across two tall, handsome, and very polite Canadian runners who allowed me to run with them after I asked to join them. Making friends in a new city takes us beyond the geography of that place; it places us closer to the locals and visitors from all over the world, which makes  it much more rewarding and fascinating.

Enjoying the company of my tall Canadian friends who ran with me about 4 miles.

4. Best way to immerse yourself in the new place you’re visiting is to allow yourself to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. In my case, I stopped to take jumping pictures, watch the street shows,  and visit the inside of the Bellagio Casino to delight in their Chinese New Year flower exhibit (the year of the rooster) during my two days of running and exploring Sin City.

Jumping with joy in front of Caesar’s Palace.
Watching the knife juggler who travels all over the world with his shows.
Exquisite topiary celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The vibrant red carnations sure make this stand out.

5.  The joy of running in a new place is to listen to its throbbing arteries, so leave your headset at home and be aware of your surroundings, while staying safe.

Looming casinos, shiny and bright.

6. Besides making us feel good, the joy of running in a new place is to bring your family back to some of  the sights and rejoice together.

Our family enjoying the water fountain show in front of Bellagio.
Our sweet children being silly in front of the Tour Eiffel Tower replica.

Traveling immerses us in the heart and soul of new places; traveling and running connects us to the deeper beats of new places we visit and revisit. Let’s strive to stride around the world!

Please share your stories and running adventures be commenting on this post. Happy feet!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!




Visiting a New Place? My own running tour of Hilton Head Island, SC – Part One

Before becoming a runner, I would look for trolley, walking, bus, and biking tours to explore a new place on our vacation, but since I have become a runner, I look for trails and paths that lead to new places I can enjoy during my runs. When I came across this map of the island, my head swam in running ideas. I felt elated at the description of paths all around Hilton Head Island that we were visiting for the first time. According to the visitor’s guide, the paths to explore the entire island stretched for 24 miles, but the public nature and bike trails extended for 50 miles.

Map of Hilton Head Island and its trails
Map of Hilton Head Island and its trails

Hilton Head is a shoe-shaped island that boasts 12 miles of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean. Although many visitors think of the Hilton Hotels when they hear the name of the island, according to Wikipedia, Hilton Head received its name from British explorer and seaman, Capt. William Hilton, who investigated the lower coast of South Carolina in 1663 (the official guide of Hilton Head says this happened in 1665) for a group of Barbadian planters who were interested in expanding.,_South_Carolina

To me, the explorations of the island were more metaphysical and spiritual in nature, so together with my sweet husband’s help, we set out to devise my running tour. My hubby who is outstanding with maps, roads, shortcuts, and so on, immediately drew my attention to Marshland Rd., or the dotted line that marks the half loop of the island, app. 12 miles. That half way point demarcation helped me decide to run the island in two days, instead of stressing to cover all 22 miles running in the humid subtropical climate of South Carolina. The thought of running and not using a bike, the most popular way to see the island, tickled me. I was excited to run on the wonderful well-marked trails winding around Hilton Head.

One of the many bike/walk trails around Hilton Head
One of the many bike/walk trails around Hilton Head

Enchanted to set out on my island exploration, I woke up at 6 a.m. and started my run before 7 a.m., trying to beat the heat and the warm sun. It was actually a cloudy morning, which was perfect for my run. I started strong and ran to the Carrabba’s Italian restaurant just about a mile from our resort, where my husband told me to make a right, or a left to explore either half of the island. Instead, I decided to cross the street and run straight ahead. The shady paths and trails enchanted me, as well as the live oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. According to the website below about nature on Hilton Head, I have learned that Spanish Moss is just an epithet for the air plant that derives all its needs from rainwater and sunlight. The moss is not parasitic and does not harm trees. PondFountain_14miles

Running felt good that morning, but I still stopped to catch my breath and marvel at the beads of sweat that bounced off of my skin like bullets. I was not used to the taste of my own sweat, as I barely sweat when exercising. I also learned to avoid rubbing the sweat into my eyes, as it sure had a stinging and temporary blinding effect on me. CarmenBridge_14mile

Around mile five, I realized that I  was lost, so I pulled out my I-Phone with the picture of the map. I realized that I was doing the top part of the island instead of the bottom part. However, during my search for the right paths and streets, I came across quite a few historical monuments on Beach City Road.  And that was my Aha! moment, too. I realized that my getting lost, which is nothing new for me… after all, I managed to get lost running the Pony Express Marathon this May, took me on a historical tour of the island. “Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to join organized running tours for the novice and avid runners ?” Running and stopping to learn about various cities’ history, anecdotes, architecture, and so on. What a treat that would be!

The oldest Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island
The oldest Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island

As I hit the end of Beach City Rd, I ran back and came across the oldest church and school on the island. I also came across old fortresses, which had been important points of defense during the Civil War. I did not expect to come across such rich historic tapestry, which is why I read more about it to understand the island’s history better. Apparently, besides my own running explorations, the island had waves of explorers that ranged from Native Americans to the French Huguenots, the English, the Spanish, pirates, and African Americans.

Fort Howell, an important defensive place during the Civil War
Fort Howell, an important defensive place during the Civil War

Not knowing which way to go, like most of the above-mentioned explorers, I stopped a lady in her 50s, or so, dressed in her Wal-Mart uniform to ask for directions. She immediately came right close to me to see my map. I was dripping wet and I took one step back, but then she came right next to me to explain directions. I appreciated her kindness and closeness and realized that we Californians are more into our personal space and privacy. After she showed me which way to go, I started to run again and realized that my run would be much longer than I had prepared for, but I wasn’t going to quit. I kept running and made it to Marshland Rd. that cut through the middle of the island like a river.

Getting Tired and the Tropical Storm

My legs felt like lead, my speed workout shoes did not provide enough support for my long run, and the sky frowned above like a disgruntled old man. Then the rain came: heavy and warm. I ran through puddles. My socks and shoes got soaked, while I worried about my cell phone that got a little wet inside the pocket of my hydration pack. As the rain came down hard, I decided to stop and take shelter under the eaves of a church for about 10 minutes, after which I realized that the rain was not going to stop, so I started to run again.

I made more stops, which helped me speed up for a mile or two before I would stop again. Soon I came to Matthews Road and knew that I was less than two miles away from our resort, so I picked up my pace. I got lost one more time making a left, instead of a right, after which I ran the last mile and made it to the resort, after my own 20-mile historic running of the island. Getting lost, while running by the island’s oldest Baptist church, school, and fortresses added more adventure to my running expedition and made me look forward to part two of my island’s exploration.

I hope you enjoyed my historic running tour of Hilton Head Island and hope you can share with others some of your running tours and adventures. Also for more information on running and real estate, whether buying or selling a home, please e-mail me at, or call me at 916-342-2446.

Running for real estate with joy!


Running Tour of Hilton Head – The Southern Smile- Part Two

After my 20-mile historic tour, I was determined to not get lost again running the second half of the island. I followed my hubby’s advice and made a left at the Carrabba’s Grill to stay on the trail, which was supposed to be a straight loop of the bottom part of the island about 13 miles.

Map of Hilton Head Island and its trails
Map of Hilton Head Island and its trails

Unlike the cloudy and rainy day that I had during my first part of the tour, this time the sun bounced its orange globe and peaked through the clouds before 8 a.m. I knew that I had to finish before it got too hot, as the air laden with the salty smells of the ocean and marshes already felt heavy and sticky. I started my run at a low 8s pace and felt great. This time, I brought my wireless headset with me so that I could listen to podcasts and not focus on my profuse sweating and uneven breathing. Along the way, I made a few quick stops to take pictures and catch my breath. I knew that due to the humidity, my breathing felt shallow and not too synchronized with my stride.

Art_14miles - Copy

Hilton Head’s gorgeous views

After about six miles, I made a right on Arrow Rd. that was going to take me over the Broad Creek Bridge, long and arched like a cat’s back. The views of Broad Creek where we had been on a sunset dolphin cruise the previous evening encompassed both sides of the river with long piers and homes in the distant background. I finally found a hill on this bridge, as the entire island was as flat and smooth as the boogie board we all used to ride the waves every day. After snapping a few panoramic pictures, I made a right onto Marshland Rd. and knew that I had another six miles, or so to complete my full tour of Hilton Head. Although my face, arms, and my whole body felt as salty as the marshlands I ran by, my stride and cadence were stable. My body felt strong; my joy reverberated and crashed on the shores of sanity that running so readily provides.

Board Creek Pier
Board Creek Pier



As I felt on track, I even stopped and chatted with a local woman who was walking her dog. We also both passed a legless lizard and were careful to make room for it. The woman who seemed to be in her early 20s and as warm-hearted as South Carolina’s beach sand  took this picture of me jumping with joy.

Carmen jumping with joy- running is life!
Carmen jumping with joy- running is life!
The love of running!
The love of running!

The young woman also started to talk to me as if we had been friends forever. She told me about her boyfriend who owned a large Kayak company by Broad Creek. She also asked me questions and gave me her undivided attention every time I formulated my answers. Her listening – attentive and unhurried – made me want to keep talking and take in that perfect still morning next to this polite and engaging young lady who had just become part of my Southern tour. By the end of our three-week trip in the South, (we also visited Orlando and Sevierville, Tennessee) the young lady’s wide and unaffected smile made me understand that my second running tour of Hilton Head island was an immersive journey into the Southern hospitality and way of life. My first half tour of the island was steeped in history, whereas my second half was a tour of the human nature. Running and observing. Observing and running.  Taking mental notes and even writing a poem in my head entitled:

The Southern Smile

“A greeting, warm smile

as wide and serene as the blue sky

With no shadows or fake ridges

makes the Southern smile

so beautiful and worthwhile. “

By the end of the trip, I could see that our children applied the Southern politeness and consideration and were less forgetful to say “excuse me,” “thank you,” and “please,” which was pointed out by one of the flight attendants on our way back to Sacramento.

“We love your children. They have such good manners,” she told us, as Alex and Sophia used their most polite language.

I smiled and replayed an ad in my head about Cracker Barrel restaurant that goes like this: “Cracker Barrel, a yummy Southern treat.”

I hope you enjoyed my running  tour, and wish you to create as many running tours on your trips all over the world. Also please share your short stories about your running tours here.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!