Puerto Escondido, Mexico, is a fantastic place to keep moving on my resolution to be fit in middle age. I’ve been jogging Zicatela beach for nearly three weeks since we arrived on February 15. I do a mix of wet and dry sand, and I’ve been increasing my dry sand. Oh, the leg burn! Oh, the high! I often reach a blissful state of euphoria.
I leave between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. If I don’t get started then, the sun is too hot for me. I walk from our apartment to the west of Playa Principal to Playa Marinera, where I stretch my legs at the lifeguard stand and then I’m off and running. I usually go down to the point, then back to the main lifeguard stand on Zicatela.
It’s roughly a 5k, sometimes more, sometimes less. I go more for time than for distance. Sometimes the tide leaves more firm sand, sometimes not. I try to go with the flow and adapt to the conditions. Today, for example, I went from Playa Marinera to the point and back in 45 minutes. That’s great for me – a personal best. Usually it takes 50 minutes. A slow day is 55 minutes or even 60 minutes, because some days, I just don’t go my fastest – not even close. What counts is I always enjoy the ride. I keep doing it -to keep the routine.
After the jog I do some stretching, some exercises, drink water and watch the surfers. Oh, the surfers! Those boys are amazing. By the time I sit down on the beach to watch, the sun is at an angle that creates rainbows in the spray of the breaking waves. The sun also hits the surfers so they look golden against the sea. The giant swells either swallow them up or they have a great ride. When they become a part of with God’s art, I cheer them on from the shore.
I start to get really hungry around 9:00 a.m. and that’s when the sun starts to bake me. So around then I leave for the half-hour to walk back to our place from the sweet spot at Zicatela. Home to shower and eat and rest. Then I make a plan for the rest of the day, if there isn’t one yet.
I do this nearly every day. Gone three hours in the morning for walking, jogging and watching candy on the sea. I can’t believe how lucky I am.
I started an exercise routine back in January when we lived in a great neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta. I’ve stuck with it – even with traveling around for a few weeks. In Huatulco I used the old-fashioned clay track and also jogged on beautiful path carved out of a small mountain to the coast. In Puerto Angel there wasn’t a good place to jog, but I swam a lot. And now here. Running on the beach. Three weeks down, more than five to go.
I did a road run my first couple of times out when we came to Puerto Escondido. But there’s nothing more beautiful than running by the sea. So I push myself to go through the sand. Sometimes I don’t use music. Sometimes I just listen to the sea and my breathing and I try to listen for the Universal Spirit – to see if maybe there is a message for me. I pray, listen, simply remain open. And free. I can’t believe how good I feel.
A young woman inspired me to get back to a routine. She’s a digital nomad with an awesome blog, and her post on running while traveling reminded me how important a routine is to me. I used to have one when I lived the ‘normal’ 9-to-5 life. I’d jog in the morning before work. But traveling brings extreme variables which can disrupt routines. I’m glad we are slow travelers – so I’m not always moving every week. Staying someplace for a month or more can help me develop a routine specific to the places we visit.
As long as I stick to a routine, I develop even more healthy habits aside from the physical part. I’m more aware of the food I’m eating, and it’s been a long time since I indulged in cookies nearly every night.
Every three days or so, I take a break from the jog, but on those days I try to do some lap swimming in a relatively calm bay at Playa Manzanillo beach. I need to up my swimming routine. Last year in Mahahual I was getting quite good, but once I returned to the U.S. and used public pools, my enthusiasm for swimming waned. I’ll get there.
For now, I decided to take tomorrow totally off – no jogging or swimming. I’ve earned a break – and this 45-year-old body could use some pampering. Maybe a massage. Definitely relaxing somewhere on a beach.
(*Photo credit to my spouse Tedly for all but the last of these photos.)