January 6, 2016

Cubarathon – Day 6

Mileage for the day : 10 miles
Total mileage : 61 miles

I'm sitting in my room, naked, feeling the fresh sea breeze coming from the open window and grinning from ear to ear. I wasn't even supposed to run today...

I met this guy, Martin, this morning, lounging by the pool. Super nice dude. He's a retired professor and a trumpet player, and he used to be runner, he told me. “You weren't a runner; you * are * a runner”, I replied. “You should see your face light up when you talk about it!”

We had a long conversation about health, being active, enjoying life and the awesome feeling of being outside, moving on your own, being free. He told me how he regretted having stopped being active and becoming a heavier guy, and said he'd like to start being active and feeling good again.

So I told him a little bit about my journey, as well as the adventures of some other inspiring friends like Dan, Catra, Sweeney and Jack, who took big decisions about their lives and reaped huge rewards. I told him how little it took to see great improvement, and I told him about how things should always feel fun, liberating and exhilarating.

The more we talked, the more he made me feel like going for a run. We parted ways about lunch time so I could go take a nap, and I came back by the pool a little later, dressed up for running, just to see if he was around. I would've loved to take him out on his very first run, but he was nowhere to be found.

So I took off on my own, with the plan of really jogging a slow shuffle to the beach's end and back, just enjoying the view and soaking my last sun rays. The tide was at the highest I'd seen it, which made the first part particularly slanted. Tons of crushed little seashells had washed on the sand, too, and made pathfinding a little more finicky. 

After a little while, however, it seemed the high waters had leveled things a little better and I found myself running on pretty decent, harder-packed stretches. I naturally sped up a little and broke into a pretty decent pace. I thought I'd just keep it for as long as it felt good, but the miles started piling and I felt better and better, so I just kept smiling and took advantage of this sudden burst of energy, pretty convinced it would fade away soon.

I reached the end of the beach faster than I expected, and I decided to not take a break at all and turn around, see if the wind at my back would lift me up a little bit and help me keep going. Pretty soon, I was running much faster than I was on my way out. To hell with it, I thought; if I crash later on, I have a gel or two in my pack, so why not? Let the five-year-old out!

Instead of speeding even faster, I just picked a good clip and tried to stay with it for the rest of the run. I'd say I was close to the effort of running a faster 10k, but on sand, splashing through some incoming waves every once in a while. I was facing the setting sun and the wind was at my back, which made for a dreamy running setup. It felt awesome to be out.

Soon enough, I reached the half-way point and my energy was still high. I started smirking at the idea of making Dan's GPS say I ran a record again, even if I realized how childish this was. It just made me smile and motivated to keep going. I think I even sped up a little, for good measure.

I really realized I was going pretty fast when I saw another runner on the horizon, who seemed to have a similar running pace as my usual. I caught up and swooshed by like it was no one's business, feeling strong and hungry for more. At this point, I know the beach pretty well and I counted the coves to my finishing point, so I had a precise idea of the distance left and the effort I could put.

I finished going pretty much all out for a solid 2k, not sprinting but pushing it as hard as I could. I reached my end of the beach knowing I could've gone a solid extra 3 or 4 at the same pace and I felt like a tiger. I ran the asphalt street all the way to the hotel and finally pushed the stop button on the Garmin.

“New 5K record”, it first beeped.

“New 10K record”, it then said.

“New speed record, 1h35”, it finally announced.

I'm really super proud. Not only am I not broken anymore, but I can run long, and back-to-back, and gain speed, and sustain it for several miles, and still yearn for more.

I'll take that any day :)

This week has been a great success. I feel great, refreshed, strong and positive. This is exactly what I'd dreamed of, coming here. I couldn't have wished for a better way to end 2015, running strong through a shiny, new, fresh, inspiring year.

This is going to be awesome.

Funny. When I left Martin, earlier, he said “Hey. Thanks for the inspiration”. I immediately replied “No, man, thank *you * for the inspiration!” and walked away. I hope one day he reads this, maybe after one of his runs, and understands this thing goes both ways. Happy journey, man!

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