13 weeks down – 10 weeks to go!
Ground Running - 15 miles (longest run 5 miles + 60 min deep water run)
Deep Water Running -90 min
Walking – 5 hours
6 days until the Diva 1/2 marathon!
This week friends start flying in to run this all-female race through a beautiful and historic city. (Did you know that San Juan is the oldest city under the US Flag?) I am so happy to have some of my Arkansas running buddies in town – I am hoping that they bring some good running vibes with them. My left heel/foot has been unpredictable and my success next Sunday will rely on whether my foot decides to join the party or fight the fun. My plan for this week is to avoid aggravation - I will stick with the elliptical trainer, strength training and the pool.
Of course I will snap shots along the route – but here is a preview of sights to be seen around Old San Juan:
Kites at El Morro
The Governor’s Mansion
The colorful architecture
Even if my legs don’t want to cooperate, it is sure to be a beautiful morning!
I have wanted to explore Old San Juan since we arrived in Puerto Rico, but every time I mentioned it to my children or visitors, I received eye rolls, moans and clear disinterest. Finally, this Sunday we were left with a wide-open afternoon and I commanded some forced family fun. The forecast was for rain, so instead of taking the bus and risk being caught in a downpour for hours, we drove. For military folks in the area, you can park at the Coast Guard Base for free, and be assured that your car will not be broken into. This peace of mind is worth the time-consuming trip through the most congested part of the city.
Our afternoon was so delightful and I have so many amazing images captured, I will do a series of blogs about each area. I can’t wait to go again on a brighter day and capture some of the sights with the dramatic blue skies and seas.
As an overview, here are a few thoughts and photos.
- It was hot. Sweaty, incredibly-humid-HOT. My camera even steamed up. I suggest cool, comfortable clothes and comfortable walking shoes. Luckily, we found some of the walk to be under the gigantic old trees.
- FOLLOW THE BLUE BRICK ROAD….. The cobblestone streets made of blue stone are the reason for the good shoes – Old San Juan streets are lined with these colorful bricks. While bright and fun, the cobblestones are not native to the Island of Puerto Rico. In the 16th century, the bricks were formed from the slag, or waste from the iron refineries in Spain and then placed on ships as ballast, heavy weights that help keep them sailing steadily.
- The watch tower that appears on all things Puerto Rico (t-shirts, licence plates, etc) is really a multitude of watch towers all around the fort.
- Even though we are in an ancient city, it is still the tropics. As we strolled along the coast we saw on of our reptilian friends. And, this is how a palm tree grows: abandoned coconut+time+moisture.
- Bring a kite. This wide open lawn is a perfect picnic spot and a popular setting for kite flying.
- Take pause at the cemetery. I loved the contrast of the white cemetery right up against the sea.
- DON’T GO HERE! Just beyond the cemetery is the most dangerous part of San Juan. Murders, gangs, etc. I have asked, “If everyone knows about it, why does it still exist?” The answers I get: “Power, Drugs and Money.”
- DO GO HERE! Just like most European plazas where you can feed the birds, San Juan has one too. Pigeon Park is a fun stop for the kids.
- We just spent an afternoon wandering around. This could easily be a day long event enjoying the wonderful restaurants, shopping, art galleries, taking in a church service, enjoying a pina colada and listening to the local musicians. I am so glad we went and I will be back much sooner than later.