Sun Runner

I had three goals for this past week’s stay in the Dominican Republic. One was to find relief from the snow and cold of a Canadian winter. Another was to begin my training program for early season races on something other than a treadmill. The third was to spend some time reading and thinking.

At Bavaro, near Punta Cana, on the DR’s north-eastern shoreline, the temperatures ranged from nightime lows of about 24C to daytime highs around 35C. (That compared to temperatures here at home that went down to -25C.) Bavaro’s also considered to be one of the ten finest beaches in the world.

(Click on each image to see it at full resolution.)

I ran every day. All but two of the runs were done barefoot. The others I did in my Invisible Shoe huaraches. That’s because I was a bit too gung-ho about my first barefoot runs (poor form, too much speed), and got some blisters. A little blister maintenance (drain the blister, apply a touch of Krazy Glue, cover with a Band-Aid, and run in huaraches for a day or so) got that sorted. In the meantime, though, my feet looked and felt a little beat up.

There was a gate near my bungalow, which led out to a small side street, which led to another side street, which led to the main road. I had some nice barefoot runs on that road. It was beautifully paved, complete with paved shoulders, and was bordered with coconut palms and bouganvillea. Behind that was a kind of thick bush/jungle. Traffic was pretty busy, consisting of everything from small Japanese two-stroke motorcycles to tiny trucks, mid-size buses and vans, to immense European-style tour buses. All very civilized and skillful, though. Not only did I not feel at risk (I was, of course, careful to run sensibly and carefully), but drivers were positively cheerful and friendly.

The real joy, though, was the back road I found about 1.5K away from my run start point. Decently paved, scenic, and almost traffic-free, this one gave me a chance either simply to enjoy the heat and the scenery or to run contemplatively, simply because I had the time and the space to do so. This became my default run route. Over the week, I tried it at different times of the day – in the early morning, late in the afternoon, and once, as an experiment, in the blazing midday sun. All were serious fun.

When I wasn’t running, I walked on the beach, lay by the pool, or sat on my bungalow’s small porch and read. And thought – about everything and about nothing.

I once read that the human body consists of 98% water. I’m prepared to amend that to say that the human body, happy after running 10K in 36C heat, can consist of 99.5% water.

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6 comments

  1. Found you searching for running information, hopefully even a race, while ‘m visiting DR at the end of May. It seems too beautiful an island to not see it from a run. I’ve been searching online but can’t find much info. I may call the resort we’re to stay in and see if any of the staff maybe runs, or knows someone that does. A half marathon would be wonderful – long enough to really get out and see but not so bad that I can’t enjoy my vacation!

    Did the streets seem safe for a woman to run?

    1. There’s been a half marathon in Santo Domingo (the DR’s capital), at least until 2010, though it’s hard to find out anything about 2011 event. It’s called the Lowenbrau Hispaniola Half Marathon, and seems to be a respectable race. There’s a short description of it at http://bit.ly/jppjyj.

      I’d say the DR is perfectly safe for a woman runner, especially tourist areas like Punta Cana (in the province of Altagracia), where I was, and Santo Domingo, which is a big (population about 3 million) modern city. People in the DR are very friendly.

  2. Nice. I hope I might someday experience a running, reading, thinking holiday such as you described. perhaps you were a bit prematrure in your scheduling. It might be tough to follow through when you get home. Good luck, though.

    I followed your here from the BRS.

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