All runners adhere to an orderly pattern of traffic flow, similar to the rules of vehicular traffic.  Each person runs to the right of the path, allowing runners going in opposite directions to pass without collision.  A faster runner may pass a slower runner on the left, when there is no oncoming runner.  It is polite to move farther to the right if possible, if you are that slower runner being passed.

In this country as well, the rules of running traffic appear to emulate the rules of vehicle traffic, i.e. if there are any, no one follows them.  Now, I must add that this is a huge generalization and there are numerous exceptions.

In the nearby park, people tend to pick an orientation on the running path and stick to it.  That might be right-, left- or center-justified.  Two people generally spread out to take up the whole thing.  This works smoothly as long as all participants move in a counter-clockwise direction at the same pace.  But should anyone run in a clockwise direction, egads !!

While running in a clockwise direction, I have seen people fall into one of the three following categories:

  1. The Steadfast Walker never gives an inch.  If two are walking together, give it up and head for the grass is my advice.  They might part in the middle about 3 inches so you can squeeze between them.  Just get a dog.  That tends to move anyone out of the way pretty quickly.  
  2. The Confounded Walker just stares at you, completely confused and overwhelmed by the fact that someone is breaking protocol.  They cannot emotionally deal with the fact you are walking in the opposite direction.  They regard you with scared, apprehensive eyes as you skirt them.
  3. The Foreigner is usually from a country with a) traffic control patterns and b) manners and generally moves to the right of the path so you can pass by.

Now you must excuse me, I have to go practice my traffic maneuvers.




I love a 5-miler.   It’s short enough to fit into one hour and long enough to really clear my head.  When I run 3 miles, it’s so short sometimes I spend the whole distance waiting for it to be finished, thinking about what I’ll do afterwards.  But with 5 miles, you really have to settle in for the long haul.

6:15 am my and my running buddy (see below) left for a good fiver.

Running Buddy

I finished them in about an hour, but I don’t know exactly because my Garmin died at mile 3.79.  My splits are approximately as follows:

Mile 1 – 12:04

Mile 2 – 18:33 (stopped to talk to a friend)

Mile 3 – 12:14

Mile 4 – ????

Mile 5 – 11:00

It’s amazing what a couple weeks of solid running will do for you.  Honestly, I have run more consistently the past two weeks than ever in my life.  I always averaged 3 runs per week, maybe 4 during serious training.  I always used to give in to silly excuses to cancel a run.

Since I’ve been dedicated to following the plan, however, I have felt my fitness and comfort with running increase quickly.  I only had one brief moment of tiredness in the whole 5 miles.

I am contemplating making 5 miles my normal morning routine.  It’s a nice, easy distance.  I can finish it before even the earliest of my responsibilities.  We’ll see how I feel about getting up at 5 am tomorrow to run at 5:45.

I also am thinking about adding some more serious core work.  I know running is hard on my posture and therefore on my chronic back neck tension.  So, I hypothesize that if I really work at strengthening my core, at the end of training, I won’t be a hunchback like normal.  We’ll see how well I follow through.

Post run, I swept and mopped my floor (a mostly daily occurence), made breakfast for my husband, showered, and, finally hungry, made a bowl of health and yum for my breakfast.

Post Run Breakfast

My bowl contains

  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1 TB almond butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup yogurt

I am off to eat!

I didn’t sleep well last night/I’m hungry because I didn’t fuel properly/My foot has a twinge/My water tastes funny.  Therefore, I can’t finish my workout as planned, right?  Right.

Do you have this conversation with yourself during a workout?

On Saturday, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill.  It was the first time I’ve ever run 3 miles on a treadmill.  I have not historically run on a treadmill because I hate them.   I find running in place demoralizing    I much prefer seeing my progress as I run.  I find one static pace to be difficult to adjust to.  I prefer self-adjusting within a pace according to changes in terrain.

my view from the mill

So during the entire workout, I kept thinking of reasons to stop.  I had plenty to choose from including, heat, tiredness, and general laziness.  But I didn’t let myself convince myself to stop.   I knew my pace was slow enough to allow me to finish without tons of discomfort.  I had a magazine to read to distract me and music to motivate me.  I had all the pieces to finish my workout.  I just had to stop the negativity.

When excuses popped up, I just said, “No!  You are finishing this workout as planned.”  Last week I adjusted and skipped on workouts.  I didn’t feel guilty because I am just getting back into the rhythm of training and don’t want to put too much pressure on myself so that I give up and quit.  But at the same time, if I can’t discipline myself to stick with my plan reasonably well, I will never regain that rhythm.

I really believe in no-excuses workouts: when you don’t let any excuses stop you from finishing the workout you know you can finish.  It is a good technique to practice because it comes in really handy during races.  Races tend to have many painful and uncomfortable moments when you have to tell yourself that you can continue, that you are going to finish the race, that you can run through the pain, that you have this race.

Of course, sometimes you should adjust or quit a workout or race.  If you are genuinely in danger of being injured or making yourself sick and you stop, that isn’t giving in to excuses.  That’s keeping yourself in shape to run the next workout.

The best part of a no-excuses workout?  At the end, you know you finished, no excuses.

Tomorrow’s running plan: 5 miles.  It’s a step-down week on my plan, so I only have 5 miles to do tomorrow.  And I will run them, no excuses!

sweat drips Can you see the drips?  Yeah, it’s the tropics and we sweat a lot here when we run.

After a speedy market run this morning, I headed to the gym.


Up the path . . .

path to gym

Around the bend . . .

path to gym 2

To . . .

Fitness Center Building

The Gym!!

fitness center

Or officially, the Fitness Center

gym sign

For $25 a month, here’s what you get in a 3rd world, tropical country.

Some machines . . . (the elliptical has some quirks)

gym 3

More machines (I think someone was having a sale . . .)

the gym

A treadmill (yay for me)

the gym2

And weights; the only things I really need and couldn’t bring along or purchase here (too pricey)


Here’s where you’ll normally find me.

the 'mill

As I ran nowhere, dripping sweat everywhere, this is my view.  Actually, I am most often staring at an American magazine like Shape or Lucky (thanks mom!!!!  you really know what I need).

my view from the mill

Today I got through my three miles on the treadmill and a full (almost) weights workout.  I had to modify (another post on that soon) in order not to touch the floor.

I also discovered that I need to wear bug spray when working out here.  I also think I will bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down the equipment before and after I use it.  Someone should.

Ever get up at 5 am to go to Safeway or Publix?  Never may that happen.  But that’s more or less my Saturday routine, except we don’t have supermarkets, we have the local open air produce market.

I buy many different kinds of very fresh fruits and veggies.  I can make for lunch vegetables that were still attached to a vine/in the ground/one the tree less than 24 hours before.  Of course, being in a tropical country, the produce varies quite a bit from the colder-weather things I am used to, like kale and berries.  Here you will find papaya, pineapple and mango.  The general staples also include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, carrots and cabbage.

I went nice and early this morning so I’d be able to get to my gym and work out before the temperature got too high.  The weekend market is a huge event in this town.  People start walking there at 4 am to buy for the week.  I personally drive at the reasonable hour of 6 am.  Although the market is quite large, (at least, as large as anything is in this tiny, tiny, 3rd-world nowhere’s-ville can be) I go to two or three stands, buy my produce from the same people I trust, and escape.

Every Saturday after the market, I have a big veggie sterilization party, and then I let everything dry out.

veggies drying 2

This morning I spent $14 (US) and got most the the produce I need for the week.  I will also go back to buy some bananas a few times, as they don’t keep long enough to buy all at once.

Last week I was so excited to find bell peppers that were red instead of green!!!  The concept of ripening food on the plant has escaped some farmers in the nearby country from which a few items are imported.  Fortunately, they have caught on that the tourists like ‘overdone’ peppers and are starting to fulfill the demand.


How much do you spend on produce in a week?  What’s your favorite online recipe resource?

When I posted yesterday, I intended to post splits for my run and detail each mile like a proper long run recap.  However, my Garmin decided to freeze up, and I couldn’t get it thawed until this morning.  So here’s is my belated full recounting of my 7-miler.

Mile 1 – 12:46

Mile 2 – 12:22

Mile 3 – 14:38

Mile 4 – 13:51

Mile 5 – 13:22

Mile 6 – 12:46

Mile 7 – 13:15

This run took place at a local park with a paved loop of .4 mile.  I did many, many loops!

The first three miles included the company of my friend Belle.  As we started our first loop, both of us had trouble breathing and we were unusually slow.  There was dense cloud cover, which means the humidity level can be 100%.  This really impacts running pace.  We struggled on, but I was wondering how I could get through 7 miles like that.

Miles 1-2

We had just started the second loop when we felt a sprinkle.  Then drops.  Now, as I live in the tropics, rain never stays a sprinkle.  In fact, it can go from sprinkling to pouring what feels like buckets of water in less than 10 seconds.  I am not embellishing, exaggerating  or being overly dramatic.  Tropical rainstorms are sudden, intense, and dissipate as fast as they come.

So, we had to decide whether to take shelter under a tree or bleachers (like all the sensible people in the park) or just keep running.  I should add that there is no danger to being out in a rainstorm, it’s just cold and wet.  The key word in the preceding sentence: cold.  Even though we run between 6 am and 7 am, it is already uncomfortably warm.  So cold rain would be a blessing.  We decided to keep running.

The rain lasted only 10 minutes or so, and wasn’t a real downpour.  It was hard rain and we got thoroughly wet.  We had to tuck away our mp3 players and headphones.  My dog started to freak out a little.  But we kept running, and you know what?  Those were the best miles I have run since I arrived here in August.  The temperature was actually comfortable for running!  That’s a first!

I actually sped up and dropped my pace to lower than it has ever been running in this somewhat-hilly park.  You can see in mile 2 that despite stopping and messing with stashing sensitive electronics, we pulled out a 12:22 mile.  My long run pace used to be 10:30-11:30 miles.  Now it is closer to 13:00 for even a short run.  So a 12:22 made me feel almost like myself!

Mile 3

Belle kept me company through this slower mile.  There was a lot of puddle-dodging and messing with stuff.  After mile 3, Belle waved goodbye and jogged off home.

Miles 4-7

I had been apprehensive about running so many miles alone and in a park with only one short loop to repeat.  But I quickly zoned out, listened to an audiobook and just ran.  It was the first time since I moved from California I have experienced the peace you only get when your body is preoccupied and your mind partly so with running and you let the other part of your mind focus on what you’re listening to or other random thoughts.

Since I have not run farther than 4 miles in months, I knew 7 would be tough.  The last 5 laps (2 miles) saw me feeling tired, but not discouraged.  I did not have that overwhelming urge to stop and walk.  And the last lap, I actually sped up, leading to a 13:15 mile, instead of the 14:00 mile I had been heading.

I am especially happy that my long run didn’t wear me out so much that I couldn’t accomplish anything else the whole day.  That usually happens once I start running 15+ miles.  But in this heat, all bets are off!

Hope you enjoyed the recap.  I am (belatedly) off to run 3 miles and do WOW 1 of Sexy in Six at my fitness center/gym/workout area.  We’ll settle on a name later.


Do you like running alone or with company?  How many miles do you like to run alone?

Today I ran 7 miles.  It was the first time I have run more than 3 miles since April.  I haven’t been running with any regularity up until the past couple weeks.  It was slow and arduous and included segments of tropical downpour.  Nevertheless, I loved every step of every mile.

To be completely honest, I didn’t work up to this distance as slowly as I should have done.  I have fiddled about with running lately.  A run of a couple miles (maybe) every couple weeks has been my regimen.  But two weeks ago, with fantasies about my trip home dancing in my head, I got the idea to run a race while I am in California and official training began.  So I set out a plan, carefully made a spreadsheet of the next few months, and began to follow it.  The first week is full of strikethroughs and adaptations.  It took me a while to become comfortable with the new routine of running in this place.  But now that all the getting-started anxiety has greatly subsided, this week’s training is going quite well.

Last week’s long run was scheduled for Saturday morning.  I thought I would have time to run 6 miles and get to the produce market before all the lettuce was bought and gone.  But at 3.75 miles, my running buddy and I decided we needed to leave for the market or risk having nothing green to eat.  So I got almost 4 in, and made up the other 2.  The next day.  Not an ideal long run as it wasn’t particularly long.

I had scheduled the long run this week for Tuesday, but it had to be moved due to sleeping issues.  And I actually think Thursday may be a better day.  I will see how next week goes and possible tweak my schedule more.

So although I have adjusted somewhat this week, the mileage has all been according to schedule and I enjoyed running this week.  I have a theory as to why I suddenly started enjoying it instead of just hurting, so stay tuned for that post.

How strictly do you follow running schedules?