Five weeks before the marathon, essentially the equivalent of running final exams, wouldn't be my first choice for travel, mainly because all of the distractions that make keeping up with a training regimen difficult.
Nevertheless, I'm spending this week in northeast Ohio, visiting my parents, brother and sister, who made the trip from Asheville, N.C.
One distraction I'm encountering is the fact that there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything. For me, this has come in the form of juggling training and various family obligations while trying to squeeze in time for friends, too.
In addition, I find interruptions in my running routine kind of disconcerting and often struggle to stay on track when I'm out of town. There's something comforting about running a familiar path, and knowing exactly how far there is to go to the finish line.
On the other hand, it can be refreshing to try out new routes. The Web site www.mapmyrun.com has been a handy tool on that front. It includes a map feature on which you literally can map your run as far as distance, pace and calories burned.
An even more helpful feature when you're in unfamiliar territory is a message board where other runners upload runs, thereby helping identify desirable routes in the area.
Traveling also comes with various culinary distractions; it's inevitable I will eat things I never would dream of putting in my mouth while at home. This time around those things include about seven slices of my favorite Briar Hill pizza and some oh-so tempting caramel Easter eggs from the local chocolate shop.
And, when visiting Mom, there are constant queries regarding hunger and endless offers to cook.
Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast? Why, yes, thank you. (It definitely would be rude to refuse.)