On the Run in a New City

By: Griselda Ruan, Civil Engineer Design Intern

I check the weather, lace up my sneakers, and put my headphones in. It’s a good day when it’s 7:00 PM and Florida’s daily thunderstorm has passed by, meaning it’s time to wind down with a nice run around town. Shortly after moving to Orlando to start my internship with LandDesign, I knew I had to find at least one good running route that I could rely on. I know, I know – running? It’s Orlando! As a Floridian, I’ve enjoyed Orlando as a tourist plenty of times, but I wanted to experience it as a local. What better way to integrate myself as a local than getting to know my new city through a daily run? And so, my new routine began.


My first run (in a long time) was near my apartment at a versatile park with a dog park (need I say more?) Many recreation fields, an outdoor hockey rink, a skate park, and the cutest pups were the main attractions. The family-friendly park definitely satisfied my expectations and allowed me to get back on track as well. I wanted more though: a more scenic trail with more than one or two runners. On my way home after work, I drove passed a lake just outside of downtown. It caught my attention due to the amount of running enthusiasts surrounding the park. It’s always nice to be around people who share the same interest as you and encourage you to keep going, so I gave it a try. Lake Underhill Park includes a fitness course along the trail – probably the closest I’ll ever get to a gym, honestly. Running 2-3 laps around the 1.5 mile loop trail, smelling the trees, and seeing downtown Orlando peeking out above the horizon of the lake – it was paradise.


A few weeks into my internship, I learned through a friend about a running group that meets every Wednesday just blocks away from LandDesign. Running for Brews (RFB). Yes, there is beer dangling at the finish line just waiting to be engulfed by thirsty runners. Well not literally, but a group of people do meet downtown, run a 5k, and then mingle over a few cold ones. Sounds amazing, right? My thoughts exactly. The route, located in downtown Orlando, varies every week, and running with a large group makes it even more challenging as there are regulars who seem impossible to keep up with. The route usually starts or ends at Lake Eola (which, fun fact, is actually a sink hole). Ah, nature is amazing. I will always choose to exercise outdoors over indoors…unless there’s a torrential downpour happening at 7:00 PM. I’ve met the most wonderful people through RFB, and not only do they motivate me to not give up when I’m burning out towards the end of the route, but they’ve allowed me to build these new relationships that make me feel like I’m home.


Working with LandDesign, I am able to be a part of creating developments like these that bring communities together. As a civil engineering intern, it is important for me to not only understand the technical aspects of land development design, but also the gratifying experience that public places, such as these beautiful lakes and parks, provide. I think it’s safe to say, my new running habit has helped achieve that.