Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Most of the time, all I have to do is step out of my front door and start my workout. But convenient as it is, running around the neighborhood, time and time again, passing by the same houses and cars and sidewalks, can get old. Sometimes it's nice to get in the car and drive somewhere totally different.
I'm definitely not alone in this; in a recent survey, 71 percent of users of MapMyFitness apps said they drove to a specific location to start their workouts. Whether it's a new route or new scenery or a new challenge that you crave, mixing up your runs can definitely keep your running workouts fresh and exciting! That's why Buick partnered with MapMyFitness this summer to create the "Runs Worth the Drive Challenge" -- to help runners find, record and share their favorite routes, while also learning how vehicles like the Buick Verano fit into an active lifestyle.
The Challenge ended last week, with a record-breaking 89,000 participants! I was one of those participants; Buck actually loaned me a Verano Turbo for a week, encouraged me to sign up for the Challenge, and challenged me to explore some running trails to see whether I could discover some "Runs Worth the Drive". After a week of driving the Buick Verano Turbo to some great running trails, I have to say I enjoyed the drive to the trails just as much as I enjoyed running those trails! Here's what I loved about the Buick Verano Turbo:
* It drives like a dream. The problem with driving to trails, of course, is that you need to allow time to get there, which makes your total workout time a lot longer -- but the Verano Turbo zips along the highway like a dream. Driving this car gives me a sense of freedom and "one-ness" with the road that I get when I'm running down a hill! I'm not surprised that Buick claims the Verano Turbo is "more powerful and faster than Lexus IS250, Acura ILX and Audi A3".
* I feel safe driving it. Even though it can drive really fast and accelerate like no one's business, I still feel in control. And I love the safety sensors that beep when you're in reverse and something (a car, a pedestrian, a bike) is approaching the car from the side (it's called Rear Cross Traffic Alert).
* The interior screams luxury and comfort. After a tiring run, it's so nice to get back to this car, turn the airconditioner on, and just take a moment to breathe. The interior is nice and roomy, and the model I drove came with beautiful leather seats. And even though I get all hot and sweaty and gross after a run, Buick tells me that the interior has been tested for resistance against the effects of sweat, sun, sunscreen and bug spray -- so the car won't start smelling funky after 3 months of driving it.
* It's surprisingly affordable. Guess what? MSRP for the Buick Verano Turbo is $29,990! Car and Driver says the average price paid is $28, 491 (note: I think these prices are for the 2014 model; pricing for the 2015 model is still unavailable). I think that's great for a car in the compact luxury class. In fact, the Buick Verano was recognized for 5-Year Lowest Cost of Ownership of Entry Luxury Sedan by Kelly Blue Book.
I do think they could have made the car look a bit more like a sports car and less like a sedan, but on the whole, I think the Buick Verano Turbo is a great car for anyone who wants a car that can keep up with their active lifestyle.
Now, on to the big question: are there any Runs Worth The Drive in my area? You betcha! I ran 4 times that week, at three of my favorite local running destinations:
Cornelius Bol Park
Bol Park has a trail that's great for beginners: it's about a 1.5 mile loop with mild elevation. There are so many trees, you'd never guess you were in a neighborhood park (yes, some lucky folks don't even have to drive there!). The trail leads you past a creek with a rope swing, past the famous Barron Park Donkeys, and across two creeks.
Baylands Preserve near Shoreline Lake Park
Shoreline Lake Park has a trail running through about half of the lake's edge, but there are nicer, wilder, and longer trails just behind the lake, where the paths join with the Palo Alto Baylands. There are a ton of trails of various lengths, weaving in and out and around the Baylands, and the surrounding area is filled with plants and wildlife.
The Dish is my favorite running trail to drive to! I try to go there at least once a week (I went twice last week!). I can't even take a photo of the car next to the trail, because you have to park a bit of a distance away. The Dish is not for the faint of heart; a complete loop is 3.7 miles of up-and-down torture. I have never been able to run it the whole way, and even walking it is guaranteed to give anyone a great workout -- but you are rewarded with a view of practically the entire Silicon Valley, as well as close encounters with all kinds of wildlife. I have seen squirrels and gophers and hawks and deer and snakes; I haven't seen mountain lions yet, but sightings are common. The beauty of this place never fails to fill my soul.
Disclosure: I was loaned a Buick Verano Turbo for a week. Product information (in italics) is provided by the featured company/product. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.