Running, interrupted (Mark’s take)


Running route high above town.

It’s early Saturday morning here in Boquete and I miss my partner.  My running partner that is.  Valerie often credits me with motivating her when it comes to our adherence to a pretty aggressive fitness regimen.

However, truth be told, it works both ways.  There are many mornings when the thought of hitting the roads for a challenging run is considerably daunting.  On those days, I look to Valerie for assistance in overcoming my apprehension.

There are many ways that she inspires me to snap out of my funk but the most effective is her leadership by example, kind of.  Once we have finished our morning coffee and eaten a bit of breakfast I know that the moment of truth is near. Once she reaches for her sneakers and begins to lace them up I realize that there is no turning back for me.

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One of my favorite and most picturesque routes

Firstly, I am not all that comfortable with the idea of her running alone in still relatively unknown foreign countries.  Secondly, we both really enjoy it when we head out the door together even though we will shortly be striving to meet individual challenges.

Most importantly, however, is that I selfishly refuse to be outdone.  If she is going for a run there is no way that I am staying behind.  Hell, there aren’t very many things that I can beat her at so my superiority in running must be maintained at all costs!

Nonetheless, even after we head out the door there are some days where the allure of an invigorating run just isn’t there. Typically we walk about a mile or so before we even begin our running.  Our topics of conversation, during this pre-run period, are usually about anything except the challenge that lies ahead.


When running over the bridge I always glance at the river, and beyond, for inspiration!

However, on some days one or the other of us will express how much we really don’t feel up to it on that particular day.  It is then that we rely on each other for the encouragement necessary to do what needs to be done.

Valerie consistently reminds me that once I get started my outlook will change.  She points out that the biggest hurdle, for me, is taking those few first steps because the run itself is always energizing and completion invariably brings satisfaction.


Another bridge, along one of my favorite routes, that provides spectacular views

I used to consider running a purely solitary endeavor.  It was my chance to just go out, be with my thoughts and drown out the noise of everyday life.  Running with Valerie over the last several years has changed that somewhat, very much for the better.

Granted, we very rarely run with each other stride by stride.  However, on most days we do successfully strive to remain in the same vicinity.  Usually I will run up and down side streets or run ahead and double back in order to assure that we are not very far apart.

I have grown to use this practice as another form of motivation.  As I run down side streets, or double back, I often allow Valerie to run well ahead of me.  I then think of a landmark that lies ahead and strive to catch up to her before she reaches that spot.  Sometimes she gets there first and other times I do but either way it does provide further impetus to maximize the effectiveness of my runs.

Now, as Valerie pointed out in her recent post, she will be unable to run for an indefinite period of time which forces me to explore new and different means of inspiration.

Luckily, for all of our followers out there in the blogosphere I have come up with a new means to help keep me motivated during this period.  I will devote my next several posts to our experiences running on the isthmus of Central America. I’m sure you will all be waiting on the edge of your seats for that.  Please contain your excitement!

Right now, I am off for my morning run, ALL ALONE,  AWWWWW!


The show must go on

Valerie Says: First of all, let me say again (I think it’s been awhile) — I love it when my husband blogs and I wish he would do it more often. 🙂  Secondly, don’t let him fool you! Yes, there are days when I have to drag him  out of the house as he grumbles about the hills here in Boquete, but days like today, when I don’t run, he still gets out there. The vendors who used to park by Mi Jardin es Su Jardin, or the Feria, would always wave and shout and insist to their friends who didn’t recognize us that Mark was training for the Boston Marathon. While that’s not likely to happen, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see my 56 year old husband get a 5K PR this year, breaking the one he just set in December.  I’m extremely proud of his running discipline and his writing skills, and I love him very much!