Archive for Trail running adventure

Guatemala Travel at Lake Atitlan

Right now is the best time to do your Guatemala travel.  The dry season runs from November through April, so everyday is perfect weather for running.  Not too hot and not too cold.  Cool mornings in the 60′s are great for running up and down the ridges around the lake.  In the picture above, we started at lake level and ran up to this lookout point, before going up in even higher.

It’s always shorts and t-shirt weather!  Leave your winter running gear at home.  It sure saves on time without having the 10 minutes of dressing, and then undressing after the run, and then having to wash everything.  I can remember living in cold places and running in the morning of winter, the alarm at 6am, calling me to suit up and go brave the cold.  Layer after layer after layer, and that was only in 15 degree weather.  I know lots of people who run in even colder weather.

And I’ve heard the lines, “Oh, you just get used to it.”  ”It’s not that bad.”  ”It’s good for you.”  No you don’t, yes it is, and I don’t think so.

The people that convince you to like running in freezing weather, are those that are jealous they don’t live in a place that has better weather for running.  Granted, in most countries, there are only a few places where it is great running weather year round.  However, I’ve lived in places where over half the year is miserable because it’s either way too hot or way too cold.

So call me a whiner or a wimp, you’re probably right on both accounts.  But if you like having your runny nose freeze on the outside of your nostrils or having the warm water of a post-run shower burn your chapped and frozen skin, then more power to you.

(This is not a picture of me, photo courtesy of: http://ultrathon.wordpress.com/tag/winter-running/

I remember being on a vacation in Oklahoma City visiting family.  Now I like Oklahoma City, but this was in July, 90 degrees at 7am.  I remember doing a 10 miler on the trails in the shade early in the morning, and my mile splits were almost 2 minutes slower per mile than what I would have ordinarily done.  Drink more water!  I couldn’t consume enough water to even begin to allow my body do what I wanted it to.

Which brings me back to Guatemala travel and running at Lake Atitlan.  The 5000′ elevation is what helps with the great year round temperatures.  So if you ever need a winter running break, you know where to find us.

Can You Run Up the San Pedro Volcano?

Volcan San Pedro

When you run trails, sometimes you’re not moving at the speed of running.  Is it still running?  Of course it is.  We run, unless hiking quickly is just as fast as the speed we are running.

On top of the San Pedro Volcano

We recently ran the San Pedro Volcano.  People doubt that we could have run it.  For your average hiker, it takes over 4 hours to get to the top.  We got there running and hiking in just over 2 hours.  And coming down, 45 minutes, down hundreds of built in steps!  Ouch, my knees felt it the next day.

Steps of the San Pedro Volcano

Totally Awesome and Getting Better

Lake Atitlan's Three Volcanoes

On a recent run, I had a good laugh.  We were about 75% done with a 12.5 mile run with over 5000′ in elevation.  The runner was still moving, but slower, and looked pretty spent.  Their face showed the fatigue setting in.  A little concerned I asked how they were doing.  Without hesitation, he answered with a huge smile, “Totally awesome and getting better!”  It was a very unexpected answer and I got a good laugh.  After the run I asked him about it, and he said even though he was spent, the trails just called for him to keep going.  Had he been running roads in town he wouldn’t have continued, but the trails we were exploring and the experiences we were having were too great for him to even consider throwing in the towel.  So how are you doing?

Toliman and Atitlan Volcanoes at Lake Atitlan

The Colors of Guatemala

Colorful woven fabrics of Guatemala

As part of the running vacations, participants get up close and personal to the colors and culture of Guatemala.  In this cooperative the women work together weaving textiles, bracelets, and other items to be sold.  The organization helps them get fair prices for their hard work.

Mayan woman

This woman will spend a week kneeling on this mat, weaving by hand a colorful textile the size of a table runner.  Tour participants will meet these women and learn how they make their creations.

Woman weaving in Guatemala

The Beautiful Children of Guatemala

Girl near San Jorge La Laguna

Whether you have eight children, or you never wanted to have kids, you must agree in my opinion, that the Mayan children dressed in their indigenous costume are a beautiful sight.

Boy in San Antonio Palopo

Sometimes when we run through a village or by a house, little children will come out and run with us.  They’re often barefoot, as they are very poor, but they enjoy the running.  In these villages the children run and play outside.  They don’t have the video games or stacks of movies to watch.  They may not even have toys; but, they know how to amuse themselves.

Girl on swing

Rocky Trail Running at Lake Atitlan

Rocky Trail Running at Lake Atitlan

Rocky Trail Running

Rocky Trail Running

It’s just fun to come upon a rocky section in the trail, especially if I have to go up.  The challenge is to see how fasts I can get through the rocky terrain and get to the top.

The Church at San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan

Church in San Pedro at Lake Atitlan

The town of San Pedro lies at the base of the San Pedro Volcano.  The town itself is built on a slope so the narrow streets are quite steep.  However, in one flat area in the middle of town, lies the central park and Catholic church.  All the towns around Lake Atitlan have a church; but, San Pedro’s is one of the most attractive.  The area is clean and well-maintained.  We sat there for awhile one afternoon after a long day and a lot of miles.

The Cat Caught a Lizard

The cat caught a lizard

I’m not really sure what to write here.  At one of the hotels we stay at, there is a cat that likes to catch things.  This was a first for me.  We watched for ten minutes as this cat played with this lizard.  Hope this doesn’t gross you out, we were all just fascinated.

Do You Like Avocados?

Dangling Avocados in Panajachel

As I’ve posted about before, it seems like everything grows well here in the temperate climate of highland Guatemala.  Lake Atitlan sits at an elevation of approximately 5000 feet above sea level.  Avocados, one of my favorite things in this world, grow extremely well.  I often joke with my family that I love avocados so much that I could even put them on my corn flakes in the morning.  I have yet to try it however.

This photo is of beautiful avocados dangling from a very old tree, just steps away from the rooms at this very nice hotel in Panajachel.

Lake Atitlan in the Afternoon

Lake Atitlan in the afternoon

I realized almost all of the photos we post are taken in the morning, when we do more of our running.  This is a photo from high above Lake Atitlan at El Mirador, taken in the late afternoon.