When talking about distances, “short” is obviously relative. One might think that indoor arena has short laps, just 200 metres. Or maybe the outdoor stadiums, which are 400 metres as a standard. On day 758, Saturday, March 23, my short lap was about 2.25 km long. Not too bad actually. Long enough to not get too bored while going around it. But what if you have 28 km planned for the day? I did. Ended up doing 10 laps on that trail + getting to the trail and going back to the hotel. I could have gone for the same long lap that I used the previous Sunday. Remember what happened then? I told my husband who had bothered to accompany me on a bike and offer me water on the way to get lost. I was tired, irritable, nasty. I didn’t want to be that person again. Nor did I want to tackle those hills that the course offered. Nor did my husband have a bike anymore. So, I, the person least likely to do her long run on a short lap, told my trainer that I had decided to do it where the horses walk (stables nearby). With a water bottle hiding in the bushes, so I could drink after every 2nd lap (or 4.5 km). Normally, I wouldn’t choose such a trail. But I did remember that awful dehydration I’d experienced less than a week ago. I wanted my big bottle handy and accessible whenever I needed it.
The run was hard because it did get hot again. I started around 9.20 am. Still not early enough to avoid the Portuguese sun. Heat is not my friend. I longed for my water breaks which happened every 2nd lap. I really did. Running the same course over and over again was a bit tedious but I also told myself that I was training my mind, teaching myself how to adapt to routine better. This run was more successful than the one only 6 days ago. Better speed, better hydration, not getting lost, although had some awkward moments with horses. There are stables nearby and the trail seems actually be for taking the horses for an easy ride. But it’s a loop. And there are almost no cars (only on one portion of the trail). There are plenty of bushes should your digestion suddenly speed up during the run. There’s some shade. There’s also some horse poop on the road, although it does seem that someone cleans it out regularly. I returned to the trail more than once and noticed that some of it was gone, especially when it was quite early in the morning and the horses were still tucked away in the stables.
Are you in Acoteias/Vilamour/Olhos de Agua/Falesia/Albufeira and want to go there?
Search Google Maps for Quinta do Mel, a bee farm. Near this place, you can see a dirt road at cross roads. Take this road. In a few hundred metres, you would have to cross a small stream. There’s a bridge-like structure, built of stones. Once you are on the other side, you need to pass the sheep (they’re not always there, though) and in a 100 metres or so you shall be on the trail. Start by turning left or right, your choice. It’s a loop anyway. Try running it in a circular way to not get lost. Some other roads also cross with the trail. If you like bird-watching, turn right, go for 300 metres or so and then continue going. Do not turn left to continue on the loop. Soon you will find a bird-watching place by the water.
P.S. By the signs on the trail, it seems the lap is indeed part of the Parque Ambiental de Vilamoura.
1. Own and live in a house.
Did I already mention how non-productive I was during the training camp? I only managed to run, sleep, socialise, eat, repeat. Not too much work done. On a day when I ran 28km? Well, obviously I was too dead to work or even plan anything.
2. Write AND publish a book.
While I was not running or doing strength exercises or fast asleep in the bed, I did read a few pages of Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia.
3. Win a major race.
Like mentioned above, I trained both my mind and my body on the small lap. 28 km. Strength exercises in the evening.