Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Beach Running


Running on the beach. It’s the ultimate runner’s fantasy, isn’t it? A long stretch of white sand that reaches for miles in either direction, not a cloud in the sky and no need for shoes or techy gadgets. You just go, be at one with nature, in the most authentic way possible.

Right?

Ha!

After the first week of our trip and an incredible amount of laziness and food, we decided that, once arrived on the beach, we’d have to do something about our increasing waist-band sizes. For the last two years, G, my mother-in-law, as well as my sister-in-law and her husband, have been going out for a Christmas Day run and we didn’t really want to break with the tradition. To be honest, that alone might not have motivated us enough to get out and run. However, there were a fair few runners out and about on the stretch of beach where we were staying and that did provide enough motivation to head out (well that and the thought of having to get into a bikini).

So after way too much food and wine during our Christmas Eve celebrations, we decided to stay true to our tradition and get out before it got too hot.

The wind that day was blowing a gale, from the left to the right, to be meteorologically specific. So we headed left, to get the hard part out of the way first (into the wind). The beach stretched out for about a mile until it reached a natural cliff-border.

Running on the beach is not like running anywhere else. I'll explain below. On top of that fact, we’d decided to do it ‘properly’ and go out barefoot. After all, you’d walk barefoot on the beach, why not run it?

Basically, you run much slower on sand as, with every step, you sink. You also tend to have a forefoot strike, which is exactly what the so-called experts suggest we all should do. However, if you’re not used to that kind of running you just may end up in a whole lotta pain the next day (or even sooner).

By the time we got back to our bungalow, after running roughly two miles, our calves were screaming and, to our horror, we both discovered what we later identified as blood blisters on our toes as well as plenty of other ‘rubbed-up spots and blisters on our feet.

Golden, tropical sand, it turns out, is actually made up of gazillion fragments of rocks and shells and all kinds of other debris. In case you hadn't noticed. So basically, what we had done was to run on a bunch of sand paper for a good 20 minutes. Geniuses!

By Boxing Day both of our calves had tightened up so much and our feet were so sore that we were doing a rather sexy hobble-walk. Luckily, the manager was a keen yogi and offered to take me, along with three other guests, with her to a 90-minute torture session (cause if that was yoga, then I've been duped for the past few years). The session did, however, help to alleviate some of the calf pain and by the next day I was willing to give beach running another go. This time, in shoes! 

But no matter. We ran on Christmas Day and kept the family tradition going. 





Do you have any type of running tradition?

10 comments:

  1. Running on sand sounds so difficult, I've yet to try that!

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    1. It's gorgeous, it's serene but yes, it's tough and slightly painful afterwards. Go for it anyways! :)

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  2. Cute photo! I love this, as running on the beach is such a dream! I do love to run on it, but only certain beaches: the kind with packed sand! I can only imagine how sore your calves were afterwards! So long as I’m close to the water and can see the beach, I’m good!

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    1. I agree. There's nothing wrong with running on the 'promenade' if you have one nearby. Your calves will thank you!

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  3. Where in Zanzibar did you go? I went there a couple of years ago for my honeymoon - it's beautiful! (I didn't run there though!)

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    1. We were in the south-east, just outside Pajé. Where did you go?

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  4. Ohmygosh I ran on the beach once in Mallorca and it was lovely but the blisters on your feet are SO REAL! But the lure of running barefoot on the beach is too much to not do it again!

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    1. I agree. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But with shoes! On the packed sand right on the water's edge. ;)

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  5. Woo!! Well done on continuing the Christmas day tradition! But you definitely blew the myth apart … there go my plans of running along a beach Baywatch style. Instead I'll be hobbling with bleeding feet!! :)

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    1. Ha, so sorry to disappoint, Sarah. But if anyone can make it look good, it'll be you, I'm sure of it. ;)

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