So, every morning I go for a run over brutal rugged rainforest terrain, up breathtakingly steep hills and down slippery slopes, sometimes narrowly leaping from the jaws of animals I have yet to identify and fending off attacks from angry macaws – or are they mosquitoes? Not bad for a 10-mile sprint.
Ha! Ha! Just kidding.
Would you still be reading if I said: “So, most mornings I go for a short run up the road, until I reach the Palapa Bar where I do not stop for a beer, no matter how tempting. I turn south and head back along the gentle beach trail past beautifully landscaped houses and resorts. Not bad for a two-mile jog.”
What can I say?
Running in Paradise is not a struggle unless I get a late start and the sun is really warm. Then I sweat a little more and get a tan.
No, this is not man against nature and my daily (most days) run would never make the highlight reel of a reality TV show, unless it were House Hunters International.
Not surprisingly Rose and I both set out “becoming healthier and more fit” as goals when we made this move to Belize. Both of us sort of fell off the health and fitness wagon some time ago – Rose because she was working so hard keeping others fit and healthy and me, well, let’s say it has been a long road back after surgery last April.
Rose has been getting up every morning and pedaling to Zen Arcade on the south side of San Pedro to take a yoga class. Sometimes she returns later for a dance class. Yesterday she did yoga in the morning, dance in the late afternoon and then I met up with her for a candlelight yoga class at 6 p.m.
Running has always been my path to good health and fitness. So I am simply going with what I know best – step by step, a little bit more every few days. (With a yoga session salted into the mix, here and there.)
I have company on the road, mostly young men and women on bicycles heading north to work in the resorts or construction sites, of which there seem to be quite a few.
I do wonder what they must think of this old guy running up the road.
I want to wear a t-shirt that says:
Started working in 1969 …
and never stopped (until last month).
Don’t hate me!
This is my run.
It will get longer. I will get stronger. I will get tanner.
Meanwhile, this is a nice way to show you a bit of what our neighborhood looks like.
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Every run begins here at the entrance to our condo. Not only that but part of my daily fitness regimen includes carrying our bicycles up and down from the third floor balcony. If that doesn’t build muscle mass …
One of the island’s great curiosities, an information booth in the middle of, basically nowhere. The other day I saw two official-looking people in the booth for the first time. They were policemen who had set up a license-check roadblock. Some day, when I know a lot more about Ambergris Caye, I think I’ll sit in this booth and dole out information and opinions to passing golf carts ….
Turn left at the information booth and hit the road north. This is the only road north (or south) above the the town bridge, by the way. Very hard to get lost…
One of the joys of my running route is passing the home of our good friends John and Rose. They built this home from scratch and opened it up to us when we first arrived a month ago.
OK, I’ll shut up now. I don’t need to tell you that the road is bordered by lush vegetation that can provide welcome shade on hot days. It is also quite dusty this time of year as traffic builds and rainfall is scarce. It is not unusual to see people hosing down the road to keep the dust down. OK, really, I’ll shut up.
Eventually you come to what only looks like the end of the road. Straight ahead is a police substation and a sign for the world famous Palapa Bar, made famous by Jimmy Buffett and thousands of tourists who came away too loaded to recall just how they contributed to the bar’s fame. But they did. More than likely they also borrowed a magic marker so they could leave behind on any available surface in the bar: 1. their name, 2. their declaration of undying love, and/or 3. the name of their SEC football team. We will take a right here, conveniently heading toward the Caribbean Sea.
At the end of the fence we will take a sharp right and head south into the steady, cooling breeze that rolls off the sea. This is the beach half of the run. This trail is used by joggers, walkers and cyclists and experiences heavy southbound traffic in the late afternoon as people head home from work.
But for now, it is almost ours exclusively. Let’s head out, shall we?
This fellow was paddling north with quite a load on his kayak. There is a local kayak fisherman who pulls up to the beach in front of a local bar called Coco Loco during the early evening and sells his fresh catch to the patrons there. We haven’t seen him yet but imagine enjoying your evening cocktails, picking up a fresh snapper and heading home to the grill.
As hard as it is to take your eyes of the blue and green hued ocean, there are some pretty impressive homes along the waterfront. A lot of them are either for rent or sale.
This set of outdoor furniture makes me smile every time I pass by. Wait, I was smiling already.A bigger smile, I guess.
The wind was fierce the night before and there were palm fronds all around the trail. I assumed any coconuts that fell during the night were harvested quickly.
Not everything is postcard perfect. There are spots where the buildup of plastic trash is startling, mostly in front of vacant lots. A lot of it is cruise ship trash but a lot is also from people who simply toss a water bottle when they are done with it. This part of the path has looked much worse in recent weeks. A change in wind direction, a high tide, a stiff breeze — and the plastic tide moves offshore, however briefly.
My second favorite set of beach furniture along the route. The chairs must have gotten tossed about in last nights wind. Usually they are set up, waiting for a nice foursome of card sharks to play “Go fish.” … Sorry.
Nearing the end of the run. Head off to the right near the pile of poles and we’re right back on the main road in front of the Barrier Reef Resort.
And waiting at home as a reward for all that effort: this slice of key lime pie. … No, wait. That’s not waiting at home. That is the reason I ran today. Now I remember. I stopped off at a restaurant called Lick’s Beachside Cafe, in San Pedro last night and had this incredible desert. And, yes, that is pineapple-coconut ice cream with a swirl of chocolate on the plate. Every bit as decadent as it sounds.
Here’s the thing: Never have something this good a half-hour before going to yoga. You’re concentration will be shot and your Standing Tree pose will look more like a swaying willow in the breeze.
And those people? Not Photoshopped. I’m pretty sure they wanted that piece of pie. My piece of pie ….
So this is what I really had for breakfast: A nice heaping bowl of fresh bananas, papaya and local yogurt — with a couple of McVitie’s Digestive cookies crumbled on top.