Vacation Time Again


fireisland_001This summer it seems like I have been away a lot more than I have been home. Don’t get me wrong, this is not me complaining – simply remarking on the regularity with which I find myself planning my training runs outside of my home base. Having recently visited Spring Lake, NJ and Virgina Beach, VA, this week see’s Jess and I ensconced on Fire Island for five days. We’re sharing a house with some friends and plan on doing as little as possible for the duration of our stay. With that said, I can’t skip out on my training runs and have mapped out some path’s that will hopefully see me stick to my plan as closely as possible. I don’t like running on sand, so I have worked the routes around the paths between Ocean Bay Park and Ocean Beach. On either side of those towns the paths turn sandy, so there’s probably going to be a lot of repetition as I run back and forth across the mile and a half stretch of paved pathway.

Jess is bringing her running gear too, so we might get out for a leisurely run together at some point. I’m going to try to focus on morning runs as much as possible. The last time I was on Fire Island with this crowd it was something of a party house, but these days everyone’s grown up and baby bottles are replacing liquor bottles on the kitchen counters. Again, not complaining as it means there’s less chance I’ll bail on a run because of a dodgy head. I can’t vouch for my diet over the next few days though. Beach living tends to revolve around burgers, dogs, and beers (which I thoroughly enjoy), so the morning runs will certainly help avoid trying to exercise on a belly full of malted hops and meat.

Finally, I have to be wary of the sun and protect my fair skin. I have a habit of underestimating my skin’s burn time and ending up a shade somewhere between a beet and a lobster. From above, my body has been mistaken for a localized forest fire on occasion. Obviously I would prefer to avoid having to bathe in aloe, so a factor 50 sunscreen on the face and neck while out for a run is mandatory.

An Amateur Mistake

amateur_001One of the joys of traveling is finding interesting new places to run. While I was away, I took the opportunity to substitute a sterile treadmill run in my local gym with a seafront dash back and forth along the beach in Juquehy, a little waterfront community located just outside of Sao Paulo. For some reason that still remains unknown to me, I decided to run barefoot. I guess I have never run along a beach before – and the thought never occurred to me that it might not be such a good idea. In the early mornings and late evenings there were plenty of people running along this idyllic stretch of sand, and a handful were even going forsaking footwear. However, it was only after completing the 4 miles back-and-forth that I fully understood why running shoes should always be worn.

Running on wet sand is in fact the equivalent to running on sandpaper. Throw in the lateral movements required to avoid the water and the variable grade of the beach thanks to tidal erosion, the feet and ankles take a significant amount of pressure throughout the session. About three miles into the run I felt the blister on the underside of my right big toe. By the time I was done, I had worn through multiple layers of skin under my toe and there was a significant stinging sensation.

I learned the hard way, always protect the feet by wearing socks and runners. I just hope this irritation heals in time for the upcoming run in Central Park.