Going for a run in Cyprus is asking for trouble. When I visited Cyprus for Easter last year it was warm; the sort of temperature that is enjoyable for a short run. This year I visited at the end of July, when the mercury reaches 35 degrees. At the height of summer, the soaring temperature makes the heat unbearable if you do so much as move. Going for a run in that heat is either brave or stupid. I’ll leave you to decide.
Feeling the Effects
It is perhaps telling that the first and second miles of each of my runs were the quickest. By far. My longest effort, 5 miles on a humid evening, demonstrated the impact of the heat perfectly. I started out with two sub-9:30 miles, not quick but quick enough given the evening sun. Yet my drop in pace in third, fourth and fifth mile was significant. Over the course of the run, I averaged a sedentary 9:59.
Sun cream mixed with sweat to form a slick coating on my skin. At one point I wondered whether I’d applied enough factor 50 considering the amount that dripped from my body! Perspiring a mixture of sun cream and sweat is one thing I don’t like about running in warmer weather.
The Best Reason to Run Abroad
But there is a reason I love to run abroad. There is something relaxing about running in a foreign environment. The distance from home, both physical and metaphorical, is liberating. When I run close to home, regardless of whether I am running through the streets or down a country lane, I always know where I am headed. The end of my journey is set back at the start or close to it. There is little time to truly explore and free the mind. The route, if not circular, is out and back where daily life resumes.
When I run abroad I take the chance to explore somewhere new. Looking at a map gives you some idea of the route ahead but there is no substitute for reality. When running abroad, my aim is to find and explore new places, where I may never return. Running gives you the opportunity to experience sights and sounds that may have otherwise passed you by. Running through Paphos I passed the harbour and ran down to the Lighthouse Beach. I watched the hive of activity taking place out at sea: a group of jet skis racing, parasailers taking an aerial view of the coast and yachts taking excited tourists out to sea.
When you are young and you start to run, you run because it is a game. Running is fun. Away from distractions, when the only reason to run is running itself, that child-like enjoyment returns. Of course, having beautiful surroundings helps, but being able to disconnect from daily life and experience what it is to run like a child again is a fantastic feeling.
My Next Challenge: The Second Bury 10k
The second Bury 10k is fast approaching. Last year was the first time that the event took place and everyone involved made sure that the event was one to remember. As soon as I heard that there would be a second Bury 10k I was eager to get involved. The event is taking place on the 17th September this year just before the last of the summer’s heat disappears.
Before going to Cyprus, I had done next to no training for the race. The chance to run abroad reminded me of the simple joy of running. In four weeks and counting, I will put my training to the test.