Monday, June 6, 2011

Running Down Under...

Earlier this year I took a new role with a recent acquisition, relocating to Los Gatos, California (just south of San Jose). It's been an interesting transition going from being part of a 50+ person department to a department of 1. And definitely challenging to work on a completely new (medical device) technology. But always interesting.

I am mostly traveling back to MN every weekend but there's been a fair bit of work-travel also. The most recent trip to Australia was to visit hospitals where we will be running a clinical study later this year. I spent 7 days in the country, 3 in Melbourne, 3 in Sydney and 1 in Adelaide. I've been to Australia 3 times before, but not since 2000 and never to the south east region of the country. We got our work done and I got some sight-seeing in while running around the cities...

I knew it would be a return to cooler temperatures given that it's coming into winter in the southern hemisphere but it was still a surprise to run among falling leaves. Landing in Melbourne the first day, I had an hour to kill before a meeting so I headed out the door from the hotel in South Yarra and hit the mix of paved and dirt trails that run along the Yarra River towards downtown. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. Along the way I passed the new soccer stadium - the roof is made from soccer ball-like steel paneled structures.

The next day I headed out in the morning and hopped on the same trail heading away from the city. I must have met over a hundred bike commuters on the 3 mile stretch! Several runners also. Definitely an active city. I was back in Melbourne the following week for another day and ran around the "Tan Track" - this awesome wide packed dirt trail that runs the entire perimeter of the Botanical Gardens. I think 4K total distance. Combined with a few miles along the river, it was the perfect final run of the trip.


In between the two Melbourne visits I had 1 day in Adelaide where I didn't get to run, and then the weekend in Sydney. Before work on Friday I headed out from the downtown hotel straight to Sydney Opera House and followed the path over to Woolloomolloo Wharf (spelled correctly) - and ran back via the Botanical Gardens. Awesome views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the north side of the city across the bay. Had a good time catching up with my brother that evening, he flew in from Perth for the weekend! We had dinner by the water and Sydney literally lit up for us... turns out it was the first night of the "Vivid Sydney" festival - really cool light displays and projections on the buildings around the harbour. We walked around the city the next morning, did a little shopping (not much though - it is super expensive compared to the US! - a sign of a strong economy that has weathered the global downturn well), and later caught up with some friends. Sunday morning I had a lovely run across the Harbour Bridge, through neighbourhoods, to the lighthouse at Cremore Point, around Mosman Bay and past Taronga Zoo - the last several miles of the run were on dirt trails through the Sydney Harbour National Park! Pretty sweet to run in a national park in a city. Took the ferry back across the bay.


Spending a day in the office wasn't bad with this view of downtown Sydney...


Back in the US, since our Memorial Day Weekend plans had been disrupted by the trip to Oz, Chris & Cooper headed to Colorado for some high altitude mountain biking & running. After a day on the trail, Coop & I caught up via Skype while his Denver gal pal Luca looked on...