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.