January 5, 2016

Cubarathon – Day 5

Mileage for the day : 20 miles
Total mileage : 51

Believe it or not, I actually set an alarm for this morning. I didn't want to miss the early daylight on the beach, and the couple hours of running I could get before the sun starts beating down. I ate a Clif Bar, drank a little water, filled my bladder with a mix of water and guava juice and headed straight for the beach.

I was just starting out my run, thinking about my friend Sweeney who gets to do this most everyday and how I could get used to that lifestyle pretty easily, when I was pulled out of my thoughts by a gorgeous young woman sunbathing in the early rays, topless. I grinned wide and kept going.

I made a quick calculation that a double out-and-back would give me more than 20 miles, which would be pretty good. The beach was quiet on my way out, and the little rolling waves at my feet made time fly by pretty quickly. I ran out of beach faster than expected, thinking I was coming around to another cove. The sand ends on very jaggy rock that reminds me of lava flows, but most of the rocks were covered by sand, which I guess is an effect of the rising tide. The water was receding now, so I was pretty cautious picking my way through. This was getting me nowhere anyway, so I gave a quick look at the Garmin before turning back. 7.5K.

The beach was getting more and more crowded by the minute, but I didn't mind. Some fishermen were walking down to the water to throw their nets and hopefully catch some fish, and I really wondered how they pick a spot when everything looks so much the same to me. Is this a random thing, or is there more to it?

I crossed paths with several other runners, too, and noticed how each and everyone of them was smiling wide. Running happy. Gotta like that :)

About half way back, my legs started feeling a little weird. As I've said before, that beach is way more slanted that I'd hoped for, so I'm basically running at an angle I guessed to be about 20 to 30 degrees at some points. I probably compensate that slope in many ways, and I expected this to quickly become an issue. But so far, so good. However, the way my legs felt at that point was slightly different and I started becoming weary that my knees or my hips would get injured.

So I made a decision. I'll finish this first 15K, go get some breakfast and rest, then make this day a “twofer”; I'll wait for the late afternoon sun and head back out for another run before dinner. 

And I did :) I had a nice nap by the pool, after seeing three amazing girls dance some traditional Flamenco. I don't think there's anything sexier than this affirming, racy, woman-centric dance, with its fantastic flair and rhythmic music. I absolutely loved it.

I can't say I was super eager to go out again, the sun being still pretty strong, but the prospect of scoring a 20-mile day was appealing, for many reasons. First of all, it's a decent distance; but it's also a personal record for a barefoot run, which I find pretty exciting. I haven't run barefoot so much last fall after all, but my feet are holding up surprisingly well and my legs, in all honesty, feel awesome.

I took off slowly and built to a nice trot. I got a little worried again because of the slant, but everything felt pretty good and it felt like I reached the end of that beach in a pretty good time. I wasn't tired much, so I took a couple sips out of my vest and started my return. With a gusty wind to my back, I found myself picking up some speed... and enjoying it. I sustained it for a good distance, too, so everything went as well as I could possibly hope for.

The last half mile, I felt the burn under both my big toes and got worried that I might have blisters, but it turned out to only be hot spots. When I got back to the hotel, Dan's Garmin clamored “You've made a new distance record!”, then “You've run your fastest 10K!”. I'm thus writing this pretty tired, and pretty proud :)

Now all I want... is FOOD!

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