It never fails. My boyfriend takes me on vacation, and I insist upon taking my running shoes. Even when vacation is farther away than you could imagine…even when it’s in another country. Like the southern tip of Mexico. Of course, I had no idea where in Mexico I actually was until we got there and I caught sight of a map…when it comes to planes, I’d rather not know. But I was darn excited to learn I’d be puttering my feet in the sand of the Caribbean!
I never thought I’d be running abroad, let alone running in a country whose language I barely can fumble through (my best phrase was “Where is the library?”), but on the first day of our week-long stay, I couldn’t help but throw on my tennies (does anyone call them that anymore?) and hit the sand. I wanted to see the real Mexico from the beach up.
There are a few things to note about running on the eastern coast of Mexico: first, you won’t be able to read any of the warning signs on the sand unless you actually speak Spanish. So be careful, and try to interpret the pictures on the signs. Otherwise you might be really really surprised when the sandy beach shifts to a rocky, pebbly, bouldery beach.
Second, there are lemurs. Seriously!!
Third, wear sunscreen. Even if it’s right after sunrise. Heck, even if it’s before sunrise. If there is any chance the sun might kiss your skin, please do yourself a favor and lather up that cool creamy screen before you go. Mexican sun will burn through everything like it’s getting paid to paint you red.
Fourth, there are others. On “Resort Row” as I ungracefully dubbed the strip of sand I ran throughout the week, there were several other tourists and vacationistas plodding through the sand with me every morning. Okay, not several. But there were a few, which was surprising, and thus felt like several. Every morning I saw at least one other jogger. Apparently, working out on vacation is not strange anymore. In fact, it’s expected. There was even a gym at our resort.
Finally, I was interested to realize that running in Mexico is much like running in America. You go outside, you breathe the air, you enjoy the solace and the sounds, you find weird things in the sand, you wave to strangers, you lose your footing…while the sights are different, the action is always the same. And maybe that’s part of what I love about running. The scenery may change, but what I’m doing remains constant.