It’s Crazy Running Time Again


A view of the shores of Panajachel, the city across the lake from San Pedro La Laguna

Somehow, running always finds its way into everything I do, regardless of where I’m at. And Guatemala has not been an exception.

Tomorrow, with a friend from school, I will be embarking on a crazy run from the town of Panajachel on the far side of the lake and running back to San Pedro. What makes it a crazy run is that there are no roads following right along the lake so instead of maybe a 15 to 20 mile run, it’s going to be closer to 40 miles. (and this distance is questionable because we have seen a wide range of distances on the various maps we’ve checked, anywhere from 45k to 60k.)

So the plan is to take a boat over to the other side of the lake, leaving around 5:45am, and then running up the steep mountainside to get out of the crater of the lake. From there we hit the main highway which is supposed to be reasonably flat, before turning again to head back down to the lake with a long, steep descent.

This all got into my head from the book Born to Run. As I made my way through the book, I simply wanted to go out and run. It reminded me of why I run: because it’s fun and because I can. So I’ve taken off a couple times on my own without my watch and without a plan, and I simply ran. This past Monday, I actually headed up the mountain and out of town. I ran the return route that I’m planning to run tomorrow so I know what I’m up against. I had a 5k section of steep switchbacks up the mountain with no rest. It was awesome and I was smiling the entire way up, waving to the amazed (or puzzled) people I passed along the way.

So I’m doing a cool run tomorrow, but it doesn’t end there. We were out for a run earlier this week in town before school and met another gringo that is living and volunteering in Guatemala. We ran with him for at least half an hour and during that time, we learned of a race in Guatemala City, the capital, later this month. We were very much intrigued.

And today we signed up! We’re running our first international race! I’m doing a 50k race and Julie is doing the 25k. The race will take us all through the capital. There is prize money too. I doubt I’ll be too competitive but I’m going to see what I can do. However it ends up, I’m really excited to be racing, especially in Guatemala.

So running has found its way to us here in Guatemala. It’s been good thus far and I hope it continues to be. I’m feeling recovered from the 100 miler (one of my big toenails has come off and the second is soon to follow) and it’s time to get back out there.

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