Sub-three-hour marathon (...or trying to get on the grinder board). Day 1.

Day One: 5 December 2011
Rodney Bay to the Beach.
St. Lucia.

It was not pretty, but likely effective. I ran at 2:30pm, in the heat of the day, but I had to. Mia and I have a meeting with Magnus Olsson, the Swedish ex-Volvo Ocean Race skipper of Ericsson 3 this afternoon. We were off all day, so I have to make the best of the time. I know when we get over to the marina I will not force myself to run later (which is the sensible option, given the temperature), so I got it over with now.

We worked until 8:00am this morning (from 2:00am), slept for a few hours in the hotel room and took off in the rental car to Castries. I am going to write about the 'Coconut Vending Area' for my first Friday column this week, so look for that. We met the meat guy at Brock Up's and had cutlets with banana salad. More on that later.

I ran in my Five Fingers, turning right out of the Palm Haven and heading northeast, towards the Atlantic side and the beach. Google maps shows roads in that direction, but they are really 'roads.' After a half-mile or so, the pavement disintegrated and became a deeply rutted dirt track with shanty homes and stray dogs on either side, and the oddly placed upscale B&B lingering further off the path behind the palm fronds. The topographical map does not quite show it so dramatically, but the path was two distinct mountain climbs and descents, one after the other and more or less in a straight line. At the top of the first there is a horse farm, and I passed three white riders and a local guide, who gingerly led their steeds down the path. Mostly it was firm, with the odd muddy spot. Running downhill at speed on a dirt trail is immensely enjoyable. It requires unexpected concentration, focus on each footfall, and the time disappears. My steps are shorter and more deliberate. One the way back, my rhythm was in-sync with the beat to a Moby song, which I turned up very loudly.

On the other side of the second big hill is the Atlantic Ocean.

Once I got back to the main road that the hotel is on, I searched for 'Summertime Clothes' by Animal Collective and sprinted around the block with the sound turned up as loud as it would go.

Distance Covered: 4.26 miles
Time: ~40 minutes
Pace: 9:22 / mile
Pace Needed for Sub-3: 6:52 / mile
Discrepancy: 2:30 / mile

Long way to go.