Saturday, January 7, 2017

Reinvigorated by the Caribbean

[Written 4/2016. Posted 1/2017]

I had a marvelous vacation in Mexico this past week.

It only took a few moments in the humid, tropical air to be reminded of my love for the Caribbean, and I was instantly transported to a time and place when I lived it day in and day out for an entire year in Miami. No wonder I picked up running as a constant and serious habit when I lived there. The flat terrain, the ocean breeze, the opportunity to see yourself half naked nearly every day, in an environment when clothes cover only half of what they need to up here in our colder seasons. It's enough to make anyone want to stay in shape, all year round. I've come back feeling refreshed, tan and happy, and most spectacularly of all, inspired.

SO inspired that I braved this windy and chilly afternoon to tackle the nine miles that I had pitted against myself for the last morning in Mexico. Unfortunately, my tacos the night prior kept me corralled to a very small diameter to any restroom for the last 48 hours. Ah, Mexico.

I'm not sure if it was the remnants of the vacation-high, the crystal clear skies and bright, shining sun or simply the determination to adhere to my predetermined distance, but I trodded off, ear buds in, music blasting and turtleneck and leggings tightly wrapped around these small bones. This was waiting for me:

The funny thing about my longer runs is that I find myself making a 360-degree trip in my head of the outcome. Gung-ho first off I'm determined as anything to fully circuit the lake enough times to settle eight miles. Four and a half miles in, I wonder how I even made it the first four. The remaining four, I only think of every pain shooting through various parts of my body, and those thoughts are contradicted by the interspersion of "Grandmother might be bed-ridden this year. I'm so lucky to have two mobile legs underneath me." You see the war that resides within? And by mile eight, all I think is, "Well, this locomotive is still running, let's see if we can't bang out juuuuuust one more." And lo and behold, we clock nine miles at a 7:50 pace. I never appreciate my determination until about an hour later when I'm standing naked post-shower and realizing that it all did me very well. Is that shallow? I think it's so very human. And to be honest, whatever keeps us singing our tunes.

What came to light this afternoon is actually a seed that I frequently rely on during any moments where I find myself reaching the white girl "I literally can't even." It's an underlying tack someone stuck under my butt that pesters with the barely audible, "Just a little bit more." Just find your little bit more.

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