Sunday, November 15, 2009

Running in Cuba

Monday Novmber 9

The evening of Nov 9 I did a little 10.3K Run on the beach of Cayo Santa Clara ending with a couple of laps around the Melia Las Dunas resort. It was a bit of a tough go as I spent the sunny /warm afternoon floating around the pool drinking Buccaneer Beer. After a good Beer Buzz I slept in the pool lounge for about 30 minutes then decided I was sober and it was time to go for a run. The beach was really tough slugging, a couple of Ks in the sand was quiet soft and the foot was sinking 4-5 cm. Did a 3K out and back on the beach doing the last 4K in the resort. It was getting dark, running felt fast on the dimly lit pathways. It was also fairly warm, mid 20’s. When I was satisfied that I was done I was way too hot. Over heating and the affect of a day of way too much Sun and Beer made for a quiet night after dinner!

Tuesday November 10

On Nov 10 I woke at 7am, the Sun was already high kin the sky… I know I was going to be in for a warm on! Logged a very warm 13.6 K on the Garmin. The Island of Santa Clara is about 15K long. Today I headed out on the road that runs down the center of the Island. Usually road running in these sorts of places is not a good idea. Terrible road conditions and a cars have a right away over pedestrian is usually the rule! Santa Clara is different. There are only a few resorts on the Isle and no Cubans live here, it’s a 50km causeway to the mainland. The 3.6K of paved road turned into a gravel road then at 6.5K it turned into a single lane trail. There was another 4K to go before I ran out of Island but it was really hot I and only had one bottle of Gator Aide with me so I had to turn back. Unlike other places there wasn’t much garbage on the road, just allot of tidal swamps and mangrove trees. On the way back the breeze that was in my face was at my back as well as the Sun. It didn’t take long before I started to overheat. I slowed the pace down but I had to start taking walking breaks and ration the remaining Gator Aide. Made it back to the resort but I was really spent , a bit dehydrated and too warm……just not use to running in the heat! It took a few hours for me to shake the affects of the run! Maybe tomorrow I can get up before sunrise and get it in before it gets too hot!

Wednesday November 11

On Nov 11 I didn’t run… tummy upset last night and I know better then to push it when these sorts of upsets occur….impossible to fuel and even more impossible to hydrate! No big deal …it will pass.

Thursday November 12

Feeling better, 16.7k done … a combo beach/resort run. I awoke at 5am this morning thinking about running. At 5:45 I shook the bed and saw first light so that was my cur to hit the beach! It took awhile to get ready, needed more tunes on the MP3 player so it was 6:15 and daylight when I left the room. Headed West on the beach this morning , first 2k had reasonable footing , wasn’t sinking too far but the next 2+Ks sucked. I was sinking 5-10 cm with each step and was running an 8 min pace…may as well have been walking! On the way back to the resort I choose a path that I thought would be more solid but sunk over my ankles in the wet sand … too much. Headed back into the resort after slugging it out for 8K on the beach. The legs were really beat up , it took awhile to pick it up to a 6min pace! While I was heading down the beach they were fogging the resort! I could see a rather large cloud forming a 100 or so meters above where the fogging was going on and could smell it on the beach a half a K away! My first lap of the resort I was about 45 minutes after the fogging and I could distinctly smell the poison. I couldn’t help but think about what it was I was breathing in as I ran! I headed back to the beach for another 2K just to escape the bad air! I finished my last few Ks in the resort but in a section that was more open and I didn’t smell the poison. All and all a reasonable run in a hot humid climate, temps around 25C and at least 80% Humidity mad for a slow go! I enjoy the warm running. It going to be at least 15 weeks before I can run outside in shorts again!

Friday November 13

21.8 K done at a 5:38 pace….today it was perfect running conditions, 24C , swirling wind, sun, and a very dry air mass! Just about as good as it gets for running in Cuba. I was a little tentative starting the day, big Rum day yesterday. Woke up with the Sun at 6:40, a little dry , a little bit of a headache and a little Buzz going…couldn’t still be feeling last nights Rum?????? Started the day with a strong coffee and a couple of small pastries. Was testing the waters to see if I could run and was feeling OK so off I went…still as little buzzed! Decided to go easy on the body and ran a figure 8 route through the resort. One loop was slightly over 2K, perfect. The walk ways were poured concrete with cobblestone stamps; again perfect …every foot fall was slightly different! So off I went, lap after lap after lap . The groundskeepers got quiet a kick out of seeing me pass again and again and again, they were great encouragement and allot of fun! At times I felt hot so I would slow down, then there were times when I was cooled enough to speed up. A rather prefect running day in Cuba. Did 10 Laps then I cut through the swimming pool areas ending my run at the Beer Gardens…. Imagine that! My recovery drinks consisted of a shot of Havana Club Dark Rum straight up then a Mug of Draft followed by a glass of water! What can I say….just another perfect Vacation day in to the pool now!

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