Now that we are in Jamaica and settled in our place near Negril, it seemed like time to remind myself what running in the early morning of a tropical climate is like.  Having lived in Malaysia for almost two years and having run 5-6 days per week, the feel of the cool early morning giving away rapidly to bright sunshine and heat that no Canadian boy is used to, certainly NOT in November, was reassuringly familiar.

Marathon Mile Marker

Monday morning, post-dawn but before full sun-rise I hit the road outside our home away from home. Traffic seemed relatively light but I made sure to run facing traffic.  Prior to this year, with the route change for the full marathon, runners used to pass right by the property on marathon day.  So, technically, I was actually running on part of the Reggae Marathon route, at least as used in the past.  The feel of the early morning air was silky soft.  Had I not known what would be coming in mere minutes, I might have considered it near perfect for an easy run in nothing but shorts and singlet.  OK, shorts, singlet and running shoes.  I am not a barefoot runner. And, since those cars, trucks and taxis weren’t really sharing the road, I did not have the pavement to run on as will be the case on marathon day, but rather the rough gravel.  And a hat.  Gotta’ do the hat.

I figured no more than 5K was the order of the day even if a great deal more was coming in just a few days.  Even though everyone seems very aware of the Reggae Marathon, I still got some strange looks as I trundled along toward Orange Bay.  About the time I got there and to the point where I planned to turn back, the sun had gone from being ‘up’ to really being up and I could surely feel the difference.  The water I carried with me was much appreciated as I noticed my singlet was now soaked and sticking to me like paint.  This wasn’t a bad thing, but a clear sign of a change of gears.  Being a bit old and decrepit, I tend to be stiff in the morning and when I had started out, I felt anything but ready to do a marathon in a few days.  By the time I turned back, all that had loosened and I was actually feeling good.  A marathon in about 5 days seemed much more likely and while I know what I actually looked like, I imagined myself like the young chap we had seen the night before, clearly out for a serious training run.  There I was ‘running nimbly, powerfully and smoothly; every step launching me elegantly into the next and my stride such that I looked not so much like I was running but more that I was actually floating or flying down the road – feet just barely skimming the ground’.  That was what I pictured.  Did I mention I enjoy a rich fantasy life? What I suspect the passers-by saw was an old man, not fat but really too heavy to be a runner, lumbering down the road with a distinct leftward lurch.  If there was any ‘glide’ to my stride it was because my feet really didn’t leave the ground by much, rather than that I was flying over it. Still, they would know that I was running. And, I knew that as the time went on, my pace and gait both improved.  As I neared the entrance to our resort, I checked my Garmin to see that my pace was actually considerably faster than my planned start and in place of the almost despair I felt in the first 1-2km, there was a solid sense of “everything is going to be OK” –Yeh, Mon.

The road marker in the picture is actually just outside the place we are staying.  Having had such a pleasant run Monday, I repeated it Wednesday – the day before everything really starts to take off beginning with package pickup.  That will be the last run before the big day.  Weather is looking good, relatively cool, some cloud, maybe a shower.


  1. Navin
    12.01.2011 - 4:57am

    Very nice post Dan. Glad you’re having a great time. Looking forward to meeting you guys tomorrow 🙂

  2. RITZadmin
    12.01.2011 - 7:45am

    Yes, will be good to meet! Today should be the day – probably as perfect as it is going to get here for running a marathon. Supposed to carry through Saturday.