Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rainy run on the plain in Spain

I'm traveling in Spain for a week and a half and I'm determined not to let myself get out of shape during this trip. So, I've been heading out for runs every chance I get. Today was Christmas, and since most museums and other tourist attractions are closed, I figured it would be a good day to get in a relatively long run.

I started down the streets in Cordoba, where orange trees line the road. It made me wonder if it's okay to pick and eat them!

Note the foreboding clouds above

But quickly I reached the edge of this city of 325,000, and soon found myself running on a rough gravel road.

Notice the ruts in the road

The road is hiller than it looks in this photo -- I'm about to head up a doozy:

I can do this!
After I crested that hill, the wind and rain really started to pick up. I'd estimate I had a 20 to 30-mile tailwind, which gave me quite a boost as the road flattened out:

Now things are starting to look bleak!

But when I turned around, after 6.25 miles, things really started to get tough. I was now running in to that 20-30 mph wind. One thing I try to tell myself when I'm running in the wind is that I'm not running "against" the wind, I'm running "through" it. It does seem to give you a bit of a psychological advantage. Otherwise, the wind can be damned depressing. I really felt like this attitude helped me think about the wind going around me, rather than pushing against me. Still, the wind created a fearful roar, and raindrops slammed into my face. I wasn't exactly cold, but it certainly wasn't comfortable. The road was just uneven enough to require a bit of concentration to avoid a fall.

Hard to believe I'm within a mile of a mid-sized city

Finally, the city came back into view and the rain tapered off. The sky was really quite dramatic!

Crossing the Roman bridge, headed towards the Grand Mosque
Cordoba is most famous for its superbly well-preserved mosque, which I could see from the outside today, but I won't see the inside of it till tomorrow. I'm glad I got this run in today, a total of 12.5 miles at an average pace of 8:03 (with over 1,000 feet of climbing). I think we'll be so busy visiting the amazing sites in this 2,000-year-old city that I won't get a chance to run tomorrow.

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