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The past two days I’ve been here in the city of Prague, which is located in the Czech Republic. While I’ve been largely inside in a windowless conference room, I did briefly get to go outside during daylight hours and go for a short run around the city as part of a relatively quick workout that was on my schedule. Quick in terms of both pace, as well as duration. It’s been a number of years since I was in Prague last, about a decade actually. The last time was when my Dad and I took a trip on the Concorde shortly before it retired.
As is usual, I quickly sketched out the running route the night before, just to get a rough idea of the distances involved. In the end I’d run more than this of course, but this made it easy to zoom in and pick out the areas I wanted to check out.
While I was running with both a Garmin Forerunner and a Suunto Ambit2, I didn’t use the course functionality in either. Looking at the map it was really pretty straight forward: Stay along the river. Failing that, I had stuck my phone in my armband in case I got really lost.
Finally, the goal of this run was a bit of a tempo run, albeit relatively short. So I kept that in mind from a route standpoint, trying to keep things as straight as possible – and generally as flat as possible. I placed my final splits at the end.
So with that, I set out for my journey from Wenceslas Square, which sits right next to my hotel. At the end of which sits the National Museum (or start, I suppose, depending on your point of view).
After a few hundred meters I ran past a shark. It’s unclear why there was someone dressed up as a shark in front of a Thai Massage place, but nonetheless, there was.
From there I worked my way down the end of the long boulevard through a bit of an outdoor market of sorts (mostly food and trinkets), before heading a few blocks away to the river where I’d meet it at the National Theatre.
Upon hitting the river I was aligned with a small island that separated me from the main waterway. Here you could rent all assortment of different paddle-boats, including some that were more paddle-car than paddle-boat.
I stayed along this side of the river until I got in front of Frank Gehry’s “The Dancing House” building.
At this point I crossed a bridge that took me over the Vitava River. There were locks here, which enabled the boats to get around this short section of man-made rapids.
Off in the distance I’d see much of the area surrounding Prague Castle, where I’d be headed to in a bit. The tall church that towers over everything is St. Vitus Cathedral.
Upon getting back onto land, I made my way down to and along the locks. Boats were going in and out, some tourism-related, some transport related. No paddle-boats appeared to be utilizing the locks (I suspect that’s not permitted).
I soon entered a quiet park that was set on the edge of the river. The grounds appeared to all be part of, or at least peppered with, works of art from the Kampa Museum that focuses on modern art.
The first bit of art in the park was this chalkboard. It wrapped around the corner as well, though some rather large chalk drawings there had significant similarities to the Washington Monument and two attached coconuts, so I figured I’d just show this side.
Moving past the chalkboard, there was a gallery of photos from the recent floods. This gallery extended perhaps 100m or so.
I exited the park and dipped under the Charles Bridge. This bridge built in 1357 crosses the river and acts as a bit of a tourist avenue between the major sights of the city. I’d see it on the other side a bit later.
Speaking of tourist sites, the Segway’s were frequently seen!
Next up I found myself passing in front of a WWII memorial related to the ‘Second Resistance Movement’ against Nazi occupation.
I’d continue along to the right and past the Straka Academy, which is the seat of the government of the Czech Republic. Ultimately I’d make a large loop around this complex of (well guarded) buildings.
After making the loop around the buildings I aimed to cross the river. You can see in the photo below the flag monument towards the end of the grassy area.
Immediately upon crossing the river I stumbled into a large square with imposing buildings on all sides. The most impressive, to my left, was the Rudolfinum, home to the Czech Philharmonic orchestra.
I zig-zagged a little bit to avoid traffic on streets where the lights hadn’t changed (since I was trying to keep a pretty quick pace). A few minutes later that’d take me to the busy Old Town Square.
After playing dodge-person, I was back out on the streets, this time dodging horses. There were numerous horse-drawn carriages on my run, likely due to the scenic nature of the route.
After zipping back down to the river I found the other end of Charles Bridge, also packed with folks taking photos. The Navy-sailor looking men were actually trying to get takers for one of the various river boat tours, as I’d soon see their home base a few minutes later.
After passing the above area, things got largely nice and quiet again. Up ahead in the photo below about 75 meters you can see the white pants of the same company’s sailors – their boat down below out of view.
Looking back as I ran upstream, you can see much of the most popular areas between the two sides of the river.
As I made the turn back ‘inland’ towards my hotel, I noticed the torpedo hanging from what I believed to be the National Theatre. Obviously since I was mid-run I wasn’t quite able to stop and try and find the full story there.
I also noticed the oddly precise signage to the Subway. I had seen a similar marker on the way out, that one advertising “62m” away. Less anyone overshoot the eatery by going 50m instead.
Woot! There be running events here! If you’re around on October 5th (remember, it’s backwards here), you too can join the purple people running tour.
One of the last things I’d do before hitting the home stretch was run through a building. Though, first I’ll note the water fountain slightly out of focus at the front (I didn’t stop), as well as women’s lingerie store to the right (also didn’t stop). On the backside was a BBQ sausage stand (should have stopped).
From there I turned up the street for the final push to the hotel. I’d suspect this street would make for an awesome finish to a running or triathlon event (and I further suspect you locals will tell me it already does). 🙂
Pace-wise things were quite nice, especially considering the occasional dodge and weave of people in the more poular places. The first 10-minutes were at a nice easy Z2 pace, then each chunk I kicked up the pace a bit. The final 40 seconds was just due to my lack of remembering to hit the timer button at the 2-minute marker for the previous lap, so I went with 40 seconds and figured that was close enough to 1-minute when you count the overage. The final 10 minutes and 31 seconds is simply my meandering cool-down as I worked my way back to the hotel. It’s a bit longer than normal, as the time-limited portions were the faster pieces.
Here’s the final route as seen below:
With that, it’s back on the plane to Paris for a short bit before heading back out again for more meetings in another country later this week. This stretch from September through November is always notoriously busy travel-wise.
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
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