Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can slack off on your workout while you’re in Tampa for the GOP Convention. Exercise rooms in hotels are depressing, and will likely be packed with other journos and staffers who need to look their very best. It’s Florida – get outdoors. Here are the top five places to go for a run while you’re in town:
1. Harbour Island – Located across a short bridge from the Forum, the Convention Center, and many hotels, this is likely a convenient run for most people at the con. As the name suggests, it’s a small island, so running the perimeter roads will keep you by the water the entire time. Plus, a lot of rich people (aka, my parents’ friends) have condos there and keep their boats conveniently docked, so you can see what people who make the kind of money Mitt makes do with that disposable income.
2. Bayshore Blvd. – Another waterfront option, Bayshore is one of the heaviest traveled and quickest to flood roads in the area. I’ve been told its 4.5 mile continuous sidewalk is the longest in the world, so you can have an uninterrupted workout session.
3. University of Tampa – Located on the Westside of downtown, UT is a great place to take in some Moorish Revival architecture. School should be back in session, so if you want to soak in some youthful exuberance along with some sunshine, this is the place to go.
4. Ybor City – Since your boss will likely tell you not to go to Ybor after dark (buzzkill), you can take the opportunity to see this historic part of the city during the early morning hours. There are still some of the original cigar factories that the Cuban immigrant population built up during the 1880s. It’s definitely an interesting mix between history and urbanization. I’d recommend a run down 7th Ave. early in the morning. Plus, you can get breakfast at Segunda on your way back.
5. Clearwater/Belleair Beach – It’s a trek. I’ll say that right now. But it is SO worth it. There are no beaches on the Bay itself, so you have to go Gulfside. Running the beach is not only a better workout, but it refreshes you in a way that no other runner’s high can. While the sunsets are what’s spectacular on the West coast, but the sunrises aren’t anything to sniff at. I would suggest, if you can, to go to Belleair Beach if you can find parking. My parents used to live in the neighborhood, and it’s less touristy. All of the pro athletes who own houses in the area live in the neighborhood, so you might run up alongside Hulk Hogan or Derek Jeter. Personally, the threat of seeing someone who gets paid to be athletic motivated me to get the most out of my run back in the day.
No go forth and work on your fitness!