Channeling the Pacific Northwest - Page 2
Nicaragua and El Salvador declared states of emergency. I declared a state of depression.
For the first few days, I created excuses to leave the trail shoes in the suitcase. “I’m on vacation, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and give me a rum drink.”
Finally, on the third afternoon, as I watched water fill a half-coconut shell in our casita’s yard, I cracked. I needed a run like a Toucan craves Fruit Loops. Putting down my 10th cup of coffee, I decided, “If Portlanders can deal with these conditions for half the year, I can for a week.”
I slipped on my shoes and headed up a muddy road lined with impenetrable jungle on both sides. Two stray dogs appeared from beyond a barbed-wire fence and gave chase. As my pace picked up, so did the driving rain. I hopped over pothole puddles, and at creek crossings kept a wary eye out for crocodiles. I called it good after four sloppy miles.
The next day I ditched the rainy jungle run in favor of a rainy beach one. I wondered if I might appreciate the virtues of barefoot running, and the wild-eyed enthusiasm of Vibram Five Fingers zealots. “Dude, it will change your life,” one Bay Area runner had told me.
Running along the surf, I found the mystical line between sand that is too hard and too soft. I also discovered that swim trunks are not designed for men who run. Denim would have chafed less. Sand fleas nibbled at my ankles and would leave me scratching for days.
These runs were leading to more misery than bliss.
Running and vacation go hand in hand for me. On holidays I’m less of a slave to responsibilities than normal, and have the liberty to stretch five-milers into 10-milers. Sometimes I’ll go out twice a day.
A day or two later, I returned to the jungle, though the skies had grown even gloomier as the vacation continued. I put on my still-dripping shoes. Would it be out of the question to put coffee in a handheld water bottle?