Marathon training week 6 – the ruins 

I am not managing to get my marathon training in quite as planned, due to being a bit sick at the beginning of the week, two long days of travelling and just the heat – oh the heat. In case it surprises anyone, southern Mexico and Guatemala are HOT. As soon as I have to do something else first thing in the morning, a run is completely out of the question (Monday was scuba diving, Tuesday & Wednesday I was slightly ill, Thursday I got off a bus at 6am, Saturday I was on a bus (several) for 12 .hours..). So as long a result, I only managed two runs this week.

Run 1 – the long run
. This run was in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. I was out of my hotel room at 7.30am, having been tricked by a relatively cool morning the previous day into thinking that 7.30am would be a fine time to begin a run. And in fairness, it was slightly cool…. But oh the humidity!! I was soaking wet with sweat within the first few minutes. I ran out of my hotel and towards Palenque town, reaching the town after  just under 4km, where I turned back and ran up the road towards the Palenque ruins (an ancient Mayan city). And when I say up, I really mean up. This was ridiculously steep. There were switchbacks. Luckily, at one point there was a beautiful view and I thought it would be a shame not to get a photo… So I spent a good 5 minutes or so faffing about taking selfies / taking a break. 

I finally made it to the ruins at about 11km and then spent the next few hours wandering around the ruins before getting back on the road and running back into town for a late lunch. It was a really, really hard run. But my marathon plan has my long runs between 10 – 13 miles in the months I am away – and I have one week in the bag as I started the plan a week early. So I am just going to run as much as possible, try to keep my runs within  that rough distance, and hope that the fact I am spending the rest of most of my days wandering around doing stuff instead of sitting at my desk will help!! 

Run 2 – the interval run
was a bit of a funny one this week. The only way I could get it in was if I combined it with my visit to the Tikal Mayan ruins. So I packed my rucksack with a water bladder, put on my trainers and a sports bra (and other clothes off course!) and off I went (at 5am to watch the sunrise!)!

 Everyone in the park thought I was CRAZY. I turned it into a steps workout, so everytime I saw some steps I thought wouldn’t kill me if I ran up, I ran up them. A few times. I aimed for steps that would take 30 seconds to run up and repeated these a few times. 

The others I just ran up on my way to temples.

 While I was wandering in between ancient buildings I walked – I wanted to take them all in! But Tikal is quite spread out and so there was plenty of opportunity to run along jungle paths between groups of temples. Altogether I ran up 9 sets of steps, with a total distance of just over 6km, but my total distance covered wandering around the site was 10km.

– can I count scuba diving? So either 4 or 7 hours of total training depending on whether diving is included. On Monday and Tuesday I spent about an hour and a half each day diving and it exhausted me! Actually, it exhausted all of us. We dived Monday morning and then basically all spent Monday afternoon asleep. I also did quite a bit of yoga and began to get in a good habit of doing at least some of my strength exercises every day. Finally, I had one proper pool swim and the two scuba dives – I am counting that as three swims!

Best marathon training eat 
Well on Monday night, everyone but me was ill so I ate chips and dip…. Tuesday we had a lovely meal out that probably would have been the best but I was still feeling ill. The only real contender was Thursday night’s dinner at Casa Lakyum, where I had cochinita pibil – or Mexican slow roasted pork. It was DELICIOUS.

Something fun that was nothing to do with running: exploring both Palenque and Tikal ruins. Okay, it was kind of to do with running as I did do some running around visiting both of them. But oh my god they were just incredible. And the absolute best moment was after all the tours had left after the sunrise, and it was just me on top of Temple IV. I wish I had stayed up there longer but at the time I was excited to explore the rest of the ruins. With hindsight, I would have stayed there until the next tourists began to arrive!

Marathon training inspiration: on one of my runs this week I was listening to a Marathon Talk podcast (as usual!) which had an interview with Alicia Eno. She has run 100 marathons,including running one in every state of America. It got me thinking about how incredible that was, and then how brilliant it would be to combine my love of running with my love of travelling and run a marathon in every country in Europe! Reasonably accessible, no huge time differences, I’ll hopefully already be on two after April of this year… There’ll be no time limit on this but it’s something nice to aim for! And to think about when I’m slogging it out in 100% humidity (feels like it anyway!).

This week coming sees more travelling – by the end of the week I will be in  Colombia! But also a few more relaxed days in Guatemala so hopefully lots of time for running!



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