Another week of all inclusive heaven or possibly hell for a runner. Even worse (well, actually better) all inclusive with friends, encouraging each other to just one more pina colada or starting ‘cava time’ an hour earlier each day.
Another year of Lanzarote’s sunny delights in posh Playa Blanca, it’s no Lanzagrotty for this runner. Sunny enough to sunbathe, cool enough to run, what could be more perfect? Our third year in the Gran Castillo, it was good enough for David Cameron a week ago so they must keep doing something right. He wasn’t ‘papped’ running though, I’m sure he used to run when he first took office and he missed a treat not running in such a lovely spot. I’d have thought you’d need a daily run to relieve stress with that job. No matter what your politics, who’d want to be the PM!
Let me try and explain why I can’t wait to run on holiday, I know to non runners it’s an extreme idea, obsessive and not normal……aren’t holidays for relaxing? It’s a highlight of my holiday, I wake up, look out the window and can’t get my running shoes on quick enough.
But it’s out the hotel gardens onto the coastal path I call the yellow brick road, OK it’s brick, they’re not yellow, but it’s how I think of it. It’s an out and back of 5 miles to the centre of Playa Blanca. It’s not flat, there’s a steady climb from the hotel, you just dig in as you know there’s going to be an amazing downhill sprint to finish the run. The path winds along the coast, past a fort with a beautiful view of Fuerte Ventura as you go. Down some steps to the Rubicon Marina and on passed the outdoor gym, what a spot to train. It’s worth putting your Garmin on pause to exercise with a view.
Onward along the beach or path it’s firm sand in the mornings near the sea where the tide has gone out and I love to be the first prints across the sand. Keep running, passing the beautiful bougonvillea clad walls of the Princess Yaiza hotel ( adding that to my ‘must stay at’ list! ) Then you’re into Playa Blanca, restaurants and bars on the sea view path and looping back through the odd collection of shops in the centre to loop back onto the coastal path and home.
That was my run 3 days out of 7. Even the hubster came once not having run since last year and happily letting me pace him at 9 min miles…..if only I could get him to enjoy it. He’s simply trying to minimise the impact of all inclusive ……it’s a drop in the ocean I can assure you. Whatever calories were burned would be consumed mid way through a 3 course breakfast!
Once you’ve reached Playa Blanca you can just keep going, I’ve no idea for how many miles, for all I know the path could circumvent the island. Just once I fancied a longer run and ran for 4 miles before turning. 8 sunny but cool miles before breakfast, now that’s a way to wake up. Beginner runners please note, no water bottle required just free, easy running.
There’s so much people watching to do on that path. Runners of all shapes, sizes and nationalities. Reading each other’s tee shirts is a requirement, see what kind of runner we want to be perceived as and what events we’re proud of………yes of course I wore my London marathon tee shirt before it’s too outdated! More amazing was to be stopped in my Notts Women Runners vest by a lady new to the group who hasn’t run out with anyone yet. What’s the chances of that ? The purple army is clearly going global.
There are walkers of all speeds and styles, purposeful striders in puffa jackets, amblers in adidas, no really, the number of slow walkers in full running gear and with a water bottle was quite amusing, I walked to the market quicker in flip flops! There are walking styles to behold, I wish I had a Go-pro. A lady walking like Tommy Cooper ( just like that!) , a man zig zagging up the hill in crocs, a lady limping who I genuinely thought was on the verge of collapse but after slowing to stay behind her to see if she was ok, realised it wasn’t a limp but a ‘run/walk’ the likes of which I’d never seen.
The Gran Castillo is on the edge of the Papagayou beaches some of the most sandy and stunning in Lanzarote but getter no to them requires endurance and sturdy shoes however you try to do it. Me and the hubster thought we’d tackle a run across them one morning. Only a 3 mile course but treacherous on the volcanic, rubble strewn paths trying not to lose footing on some steep downhill paths onto the beach and then finding the sand soft and strength sapping as you crossed to then have to scramble (not run) back up the other side.
On the final stretch I must have said ‘watch your footing’ for about the 100th time to the inexperienced hubster. I think I did it just before I found myself hitting the deck in graceless style. Covered in black dust with just a scratched knee, who felt the idiot! In the final stretch those little scratches managed to create an impressive trail of blood down my leg. A hard core look to enter the marble clad Arabic style reception of a 5* hotel. No damage done, seriously just a scratch to add to my already unattractive knees. More importantly, Garmin and London mara tee shirt intact!
So 5 runs out of 7 days was more than I planned , all miles run before breakfast was a change to the norm but one week of all inclusive living has left me sluggish and fat. It’s the lure of the buffet counters, the call of the cocktails, anytime is cava time. Guess who’s back ? Yes, it’s Billy. Billy and bikinis shouldn’t mix. Want to know who he is ? You better read my blog of January 6th to find out.