I’ve spent the past few Christmases away from home. In 2015 I was working at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, and in 2014 I was in Fez, Morocco. Shoot, I might have even been gone in 2013 too but frankly I don’t remember.
This year I am in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City. I’m here on a solo writing retreat and have been making the most of time. My flat is a half-mile from one of the bigger parks in the DF, Parque México. During the past month, I’ve become a morning fixture on the paved 1k trail around the perimeter. So much so that, unlike during my first few runs there, the regulars now bid be buenos dias.
I’m not a huge fan of running on cement, I’m definitely more of a trail guy. But I don’t have a luxury of options as I do back home. I tried getting some miles in along the busy street sidewalks but there are too may folks to dodge and the long traffic lights make it tricky to get into any kind of pace. Parque México is my best local option.
On my first few runs here in Mexico City, I was gasping for air at 10-minute/mile pace. The DF’s 7500 feet of elevation is a far cry from my home town Carrboro’s whopping 460 feet above sea level. A five-miler here felt like ten back home. But I kept at it, getting a solid three or four runs in per week, always in the morning, while growing the weekend workout in distance each week.
(Sidenote: Once I found my new favorite juice joint, Fruta Editorial, which is conveniently located on my return route from the park, I’ve been wanting to run even more.)
And since today is Christmas, I thought I’d commemorate it with a special sort of run. Something I might not do on a normal weekend. So this morning I got up at the crack of dawn and did 25 laps around Parque México. I brought along a giant jug of water that I stashed beneath a shrine to the Virgin Mary so nobody would mess with it. I carried a few chunks of a Snickers bar in a piece of plastic wrap, and I hoped that the chafing situation wouldn’t get problematic.
Even with my knee still in recovery from recent surgery, I knocked out all 30k (18 miles) of this Christmas beast in just shy of 3 hours. Not bad for a soon to be 45 year old ultrashuffler.
Never before have I been on a run during which I witnessed a drunk guy take a spill on his moped as he hit a speed bump too fast (and yes, I stopped…he was fine). Additionally, I’d also never before found tarot cards on my route. If these cards carry any special meaning, please let me know.
I got lots of love from the locals on Christmas morning and by the time I was finished, the park was filled with runners and strolling families alike. Small groups were gathering for their impromptu tai chi or yoga classes, and dog walkers outnumbered everyone. I counted a total of four great danes and six huskies. One husky puppy. That alone made it all worthwhile.
And all in all enjoyed my hamster wheel run even though the chafing situation did get kind of gnarly. I’ll know more when I hop in the shower. Ouch.