A Newark Airport Layover Runaround

I figured I’d share a brief runaround from this past Thursday, if for no other reason than a bit of entertainment.

We were working our way back home from St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada) to Paris when we found ourselves with an approximately 7 hour layover at Newark airport.  While we could have gone into the city for some portion of that time, it’d have been a bit more complex since we had Lucy with us (our little dog).  Plus, with the variables of traffic to/from the city – that can easily burn a lot of time (especially on NYE in NYC).  Not to mention dealing with holding onto carry-on bags too.

So instead, we just hung out at the airport and got work done.  Oh, and going for a run straight from the baggage claim and then eventually back to the departures check-in area. Cause…why not?

I did a quick look in Strava for nearby Segments upon landing, figuring that it might offer options that are runner friendly.  Then I created a route using my favorite planning app – Easy Route – it just allows you to quickly plot out a course in a few taps.  Nothing fancy, it just works.

The route I created was more of rough outline, not the exact route I’d take.  I was hoping to be able to take a short-cut between the #1 and #7 mile markers on the below map, to allow more mileage at the lake.

2015-12-31 18.29.21 2015-12-31 18.29.29

Now, I decided to go freestyle and not download/transfer this route to my Garmin or Traverse…which, was clearly a mistake.  I figured things would be relatively straight forward: Get out of the airport and go east until I hit the park.  Run around the park, and then aim back for the airport.  After all, getting back to an airport is always easy – just look for big planes in the sky.

In order to make this whole run idea work, The Girl hung out in the United lounge with Lucy and my bags while I followed the signs to exit via baggage claim:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7752.

From there, I got GPS signal and optical HR settled on an assortment of devices while Uber’s picked up passengers nearby.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7755.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7756.

Then it was time to try and get out of the airport.  A feat that turned out far more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve often run out of or around airports, and usually it’s pretty straight forward.  In most cities there are routes which connect directly to highways, but also ones that connect to local roads (often perimeter roads).  Usually there’s clear signage on how to accomplish these tasks, along with sidewalks to the local roads.  Newark?  Not so much – mostly just highways.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7760.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7761.

After a few miles, I finally managed to get out of the darn airport grounds.  Landing myself…well…somewhere:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7766.

So, east I ran.  Or at least, I presumed it was east.  It was in the opposite direction of the airport, so I just ran for a while figuring that was east.  The scenery:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7769.

I had assumed I’d eventually run into the park, but what I didn’t take into account is just how far south I had run before I turned away from the airport.  Thus, I totally missed the park.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7772.

I did find this sign, which didn’t even show the park on it at all – a clue to me that I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7774.

So, I turned from there and make a bit of a square thingy, figuring that I’d eventually get back to the airport property.  My actual route, below:

StravaRoute

More scenery below.  To be fair, the fried chicken did smell pretty awesome.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7775.

Eventually, I found the airport again and worked my way through more arrivals/departures signs than I could ever count:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7778.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7782.

A few miles later, I found myself at the ramp for the ticket counters for Terminal C, where United was:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7794.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7792.

After stopping my watches and heading inside I noticed my boarding pass (I had taken it and ID) was a bit…wet.  So I went to the check-in machine and got it to spit out a new one.  Figured the TSA officer would appreciate that.  Regrettably, the check-in machine photo came out horrible, but this one of the departures board was acceptable.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7803.

Then it was into the TSA Pre-Check line.  This would be the second time I’d seen this officer today, and third time in the past few weeks.  I only remembered him because he was wearing a Fitbit Surge, and had oddly enough asked about a watch I was wearing a few weeks prior.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7805.

Obviously, the fact that I was just in running stuff (most of my watches were tossed into my Spibelt at this point) was probably a bit unusual.  However, Pre-Check was mostly empty at this time, with only 2-3 people nearby.  So it was quick and easy.

Then it was into the United lounge for a shower.  2 out of 3 United lounges at Newark have showers, and since we were flying international, I got access to it despite being in economy.  One of the very few benefits of flying hundreds of thousands of miles in 2015 (and every year since around 2002ish).

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7807.

For those unfamiliar with how lounge showers work, you basically put your name on a waiting list and then wait a short period for what is essentially a small private bathroom.  In my case, I just had to wait about 10 minutes before it was ready.  There’s perhaps 5-8 shower rooms at this lounge.  Some lounges have more, some less.  Just depends on the airport/airline.

2015-12-31 14.58.51

I had brought an extra plastic bag to seal up my running stuff and tossed it into an extra carry-on bag I had, as well as my running shoes. Easy-peasy!

And there ya have it – how to fit in a run from the airport during a layover!

Thanks for reading!

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27 Comments

  1. morey000

    I see you’re still working on the Traverse. Not really a running watch by its nature. Mostly just assuming that Suunto will put the full multisport firmware in there soon and call it an Ambit 4 or something. Fly safely (although you’re probably already home.

  2. CMV

    Maybe this one time it would’ve made sense to have the Epix, or something like komoot on your Phone!
    Happy new year, may it bring you many new gadgets, and bring us many great reviews (and, of course, travel reports!)

  3. Tim Grose

    Reassuring that you can also head out with a myraid of GPS devices and still get lost! Done that a fair few times LOL! BTW I am quite liking dwMap for a bit of navigation on the 230/235/630. Twice now I have setup a route on my iPad in the car and downloaded it to my watch and, by and large, followed the planned route!

  4. Donald Barnes

    You are a bold man. I once stayed a couple days at one of the hotels right there at the Newark airport. Just a look around from my somewhat high window and Google Earth told me I just didn’t even want to try to run. So I did a couple days in a row on the spinbike and just skipped a run at all. *sigh* Places like that suck.

    –Donnie

  5. Nicky

    Cool run Ray. Does that mean we can expect the vivosmart hr review soon? I’m not prepared to push the button until I get your comprehensive thoughts, but I’ve got Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket! Pleaser make it soon, and thanks for all the work.

  6. Kyle

    You didnt show the Fenix 3HR you were wearing ;). When can we expect CES post to show up? Tomorrow?

  7. Paul

    Well done. Love the pic with the Sobey’s bag (the plastic bag in the final pic). That gave me a brief pang of homesickness (and a hunger for Purity Jam-jams).

    I don’t suppose there will be a post about cmas in Newfoundland to compliment the post on cmas in Seattle? Perhaps the Girl could write a guest post? Even just some pics of all the food! :)

  8. SL

    I am (perhaps one of the really odd ones out) really glad to see that you are still testing the MS Band 2. Being a Windows Phone user, I am really hoping that this one works well enough in your testing as a simple running watch to make the trade-off between features and phone compatibility worth it. Awaiting as patiently as I can for your review!

  9. Speaking as a guy who grew up in this area, you’re lucky to have made it back alive (and wearing all your watches).

  10. Bruce Burkhalter

    Ray – Any idea how many miles you will fly this year now that you won’t be traveling so much for work?

  11. Keith

    I always wondered if you(not any of us) would ever try a NWK runaround. As someone mentioned before, you are very brave. I don’t think I’ve ever driven there without seeing at least 1 accident. I’ve lived in Jersey most of my life and been to some bad places, would never think about running around those roads.

  12. Nick Campbell

    you’re a brave man, Ray!

    I grew up in Central Jersey…when i started reading this entry, i thought that you obviously have a navigation gene not possessed by many, because i couldn’t remember any kind of pedestrian thoroughfare across Route 1/9 to the park…my inferiority complex evaporated once i kept reading!

    Had a similar incident while staying in West Seattle…figured i’d do a nice 13 mile loop counter-clockwise past Alki, so i just had to get down the hill to the shoreline….via the West Seattle Freeway, which evidently does not have any kind of shoulder. Nor does it have a convenient off-ramp near the bottom, so i ended up shimmying over the median and jumping a fence….my in-laws STILL give me crap about that!

  13. Mike T

    On EasyRoute, is there any way to create a route and upload it to garmin connect?

    I normally don’t travel with a laptop so looking for a way to create a route on my iPad and download it to my garmin edge 520 over the air. In other words, any way to create routes without carrying my laptop or trying to create in garmin connect (which has given me headaches on an iPad).

    • Stefan

      I’d love to know how to do this as well. Using Garmin Connect or Strava Routes on an iPad tends to crash Safari. EasyRoute sounds like the perfect app to solve that problem. But then, if traveling without a laptop, how do you get the GPX imported as a Course in Garmin Connect to then download to an Edge device (520 in my case)? It would be awesome if Garmin worked with DropBox, for instance, to enable imports from there, assuming EasyRoute could also save the GPX to DropBox on a mobile device…

    • Hi Guys,

      I’m the author of EasyRoute. I looked into doing a direct Garmin Connect upload (since I am a Garmin runner too) but Garmin’s $5,000 licensing fee is a bit much for me.

      Since it’s been a little while since I last looked into it, I’m trying a few things now, but I don’t see an easy way to get the route directly into GC.

      The app has a direct upload to MapMyFitness chiefly because the MapMyFitness API made it really easy for me. It also exports to GPX and there are some other apps that can consume GPX directly. (Unfortunately, the Garmin Connect app does not)

      I also tried adding a direct Strava upload, but Strava doesn’t support route creation via their API.

      You should be able to export the GPX file to Dropbox, but as you pointed out, Garmin would have to enable some kind of import from there. I can’t even find a way to upload a GPX file as a route/course on their website.

      -John

    • Mike T

      John,

      Thanks for the info. Really glad to hear from the author and get your feedback. It makes sense that no one else has set up with Garmin Connect because of their fee. I use Pocket Earth on my phone so I could upload the GPX from EasyRoute and use it there. If I get lost, I can break out the phone if needed.

      Mike

    • Stefan

      Hi John, thanks for the update. Ray has posted about Garmin’s API fees in the past which are quite prohibitive in some cases like this one. I purchased EasyRoute yesterday and played around with it — great app, good work! It’s still really useful without direct Garmin Connect integration. Please let us know if you figure something out in your tests.

    • Mike T

      Hi John,

      After you replied, I bought a copy too and it is a great program. Easy to use and works. Thanks for the input and let us know if you are able to find a workaround to Garmin Connect.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks!

      Maybe Garmin is paying attention? I suppose I’m unlikely to sway them if Ray wasn’t able to…

      link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Actually, even in this case the API fee wouldn’t really help. So that’s only for getting data OUT of Garmin Connect, not into it.

    • Hi Ray,

      Good point. Glad I didn’t blow 5000 bucks to find that out! ;)

      The comment about Garmin paying attention was more to your larger point their closed access not being good for anyone. If Garmin had a free, open and robust REST API like MapMyFitness, my users would be happier, their customers would be happier and we wouldn’t have even had this discussion in the first place.

  14. Kevin

    FWIW, Schiphol has showers inside security near the casino (if you don’t have lounge access). Last time I was there I think it was 15 euro for an hour. They give you a shower, toilet, all the toiletries, towels, hair dryer etc. If you’re flying from the US to the Middle East (or other way around) it will be the best 15 euro you ever spend. Just make sure you have a fresh shirt, socks and underwear and you’ll fell like a million bucks.

  15. Lee

    Hey Ray! Nice de-brief! I have a little over five hours between my flight from LAX to Shanghai. Access to Delta Sky Club showers. Is that enough time to run for 30-45 minutes? I know that you have experience with these types of runaround ‘s. Thanks!

    • Plenty of time! My usual drawing line is 3 hours (for domestic to domestic, or domestic to international). If I land international to domestic, then I’ll base it on whenever I finish clearing customs and make a decision then.

      3 hours gives me:

      30 minutes to find a place to stash stuff, change, and get outside
      1 hour to run
      30 minutes to get inside, shower, change, etc…
      1 hour to get to gate

      So basically, tons of fluff time built in.