Sunday, July 5, 2009
Balancing Family Vacation & Long Ironman Workouts
Looks gorgeous doesn't it!! Believe me. This isn't just a photo I pulled from a travel magazine. This, believe it or not, it taken from where my parents live part of the year...in Abaco Bahamas.
I got the pleasure of spending the July 4th holiday with my husband and parents in Marsh Harbor on the Eastern Shore at their home there. It is quite a beautiful, peaceful, quiet and relaxing environment where there are more hammocks per square yard then just about anywhere in the world. We arrived on Thursday and, I have to admit, I was lured into that hammock by Thursday afternoon!! Napping was the call of the day.
Friday morning, however, was a totally different story. Since cycling on Abaco would have been next to impossible (aside from the roads, getting my bike in a Cessna 172 is simply impossible), I had to rearrange my workout schedule to have my running and swimming fall over the weekend. A 10 mile run was the order of the day so I got my gear together and hit the road.
I should get extra credit for this run. The roads are rocky and full of potholes. The last two weeks have been nothing but rain every afternoon so puddles and potholes became common place as I made my way into town from my family's home on the Eastern Shore. I was amazed by the ocean views but had to remember the traffic comes the OPPOSITE way in the Bahamas. Very few sidewalks made the run pretty tough.
As I approached my second mile, I got two running buddies. Two young mutt puppies who were so happy to see someone up this early on the road escorted me as I made it through the one and only stop light in town and made the turn toward the airport. These dogs are called "potcakes" in the islands because they are like what is left after you make cornbread in a skillet. Whatever is left, you mash together into a "potcake". These dogs are a combination of god only knows how many breeds but they are always so sweet and were great company.
By mile 7, it was warm, humid and no wind as I avoided the mud along the side of the road. I got some strange looks from the locals as they made their way to work. I was ready to get back near the water and the breeze across the Sea of Abaco would bring the temperature down a few degrees.
Back into town and past "Island Bakery" where the smell of fresh bread was intoxicating. My new found puppy friends almost detoured from our running workout at the possibility of scraps at the bakery but continued by my side through town. By mile 8, I was down to a walk run but was proud of my 7 miles of constant running. Even in these unusual conditions, I was getting it done.
Past the marinas full of multi million dollar yachts and fishing vessels getting ready for a day of billfish adventure made me pause for a moment and take it in. Wow!! This is some amazing place.
At mile 9, my husband met me to walk and run the last mile. This has become a tradition for us. He worries about me (aren't I blessed to have someone that cares) so he walks until he finds me. On this day, he found me tired, and sweaty and pretty much out of water and endurance drink. I made it back to the house where my mother was cooking pancakes. My running buddies followed us up the driveway and I couldn't just send them away. I went inside and grabbed two pancakes and a little water and made sure they refueled before they headed out on their next adventure.
The beauty of this day was I was able to cover 10 miles and spend the rest of the day exploring the various towns and cays nearby with my family. This is not unfamiliar territory for me. I was raised in the Bahamas every summer of my childhood. In those times, we lived on a boat that my father took throughout the various Bahamian islands. Now, my parents have settled here and enjoy the views and the peacefulness of a paradise they have known for over 40 years. It brought back so many memories as we visited Hope Town, Man O War Cay and the Abaco Inn. What a great way to spend a long weekend.
The next day included a open water ocean swim from our beach to a reef marker and back. I kept swimming back and forth until an hour had past but it felt good to be in saltwater instead of a pool.
Finding the balance and getting it all in...that's what this weekend was about.