Endurance in Paradise
Three weeks ago, I travelled to Puerto Rico to visit my family and to participate in as many endurance events as I possibly could. Puerto Rico, a tiny island in the Caribbean, is not known for it endurance events. Instead, it is known for a blend of a dwindling economy caused by government corruption and beautiful backdrop of pristine beaches and rainforests. As a kid, I never left the metropolitan area. It was dull, boring and because of it, I learned to hate the island, and as a result, I left the island and rarely came back. Recently, endurance events started flourishing in the island and I felt it was a good opportunity for me to discover the island that I have never seen, while participating in events such as Titans Race: Kronos Challenge, Elite Challenge, The Puerto Rico Half Marathon, and Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico. On top of that, I decided to do my own little workout event called X Run Playero which was a 2 hour functional fitness workout in Aguadilla. Three weekends, six events, most of them in different parts of the island. This was a great opportunity to discover Puerto Rico and spread the love of MudRunFun.
Weekend No. 1 — Titan’s Race Kronos Challenge (race review)
Two days after I got to Puerto Rico, I had my first set of events. The Titans Race: Kronos Challenge was a two day obstacle racing event in the mountains of Orocovis. On Saturday, The Titans Race offered a 5k course while Sunday included a “tk” distance which was about 8 miles long. You can see some pictures and a review of the actual event here. The obstacle race was incredibly difficult due to the constant hilly terrain, clay mud and rain. But it was fun. Luckily, I rented an Airbnb house in the mountains of Jayuya which was technically nearby. I say technically because in the Google map it was roughly 20 miles away from the venue but it took a whole hour to get there. The roads were windy and extremely inclined, almost too much to handle on a 98' 4x4 Dodge Dakota, but it was totally worth it. The house we stayed at sits at the top of one of the highest mountains in Puerto Rico. It was an old cocoa plantation. It had no electricity, only gas appliances and LED lanterns. It was somewhat of an issue for those who needed to charge their phones. Down the road from us there was a small bar. The bartender name was Lolo. He was an old guy that gave no fucks. He lives his life happily, selling booze and cigars from his small tavern in which the same one customer sat every day, drinking his life away while on his mobile device. Lolo charge us 18 bucks for at least 3 double whisky on the rock, four beers, a cigar, and three shots of pitorro( puerto rican moonshine). Over pouring was not a concern to Lolo. Great guy. When we were not at Lolo’s, the house or the obstacle race, we were hanging out at Bavaria. Bavaria is a German-themed Puertorrican restaurant. Here, you can enjoy a cold hefeweizen while your wait for your schnitzel with a side of tostones and maduros. It was a great time and would like to thanks Team Poly, Team Dynasty and Roxie the Aussie for the great memories.
Weekend No. 2 — X Run Playero and Puerto Rico Half Marathon
The X Run Playero was MudRunFun’s first event in the island. As you might know, MudRunFun is not organizing running events in the state of Florida. It just made sense to have something small in Puerto Rico to see how it went. The X Run Playero was a small but awesome event held in Aguadilla. Sponsored by Punto Azul, The X Run and Luxury Fitness, the event consisted of a small, team-work, functional fitness workout. We did everything from crawls, jumps and burpees to push ups, sit ups and squat. On top of that, we brought the dreaded sand bucket carries and 4x4 wood logs. After a little over 4 miles of running on the beach and doing over 2000 repetitions of an assortment of bodyweight exercises, we ran back to Punto Azul were we indulged in Coconut, Mango and Passionfruit mojitos.
The following day, me. Desiree and Roxie the Aussie participated in the Puerto Rico Half Marathon. It was the earliest race I have ever ran in. It began at 5am! and It started on time! We arrived a little bit late but there were so many runners that even with our 5 minute late start, there were still runners passing through the timing mats. The course was awesome, running through the spanish fortresses of San Cristobal and San Felipe and then passing through El Paseo la Princesa. The rest of the race had us run nearby areas such as Isla Grande, Santurce and Condado. Just before entering the island of San Juan ( yes ,San Juan is a small island), we cross over el Puente Los Hermanos and headed back to the spanish fortresses before ending the half marathon in Escambron Beach. Out of all the half marathons I have run, this one is by far the most scenic. We also happened to be hit with rain every 20 minutes for about 5 minutes which kept us cool.
Weekend No. 3 — Elite Challenge(race review)and Puerto Rico Ironman 70.3
I was a little terrified about this weekend. Not only was I attempting the Half Ironman that nearly killed me in 2015, but I was doing it the day after Elite Challenge. The Elite Challenge was by no mean an Elite event. Instead it was a nice beginner-level obstacle race in La Guancha in Ponce. This two mile beach run combined with monkey bars, tire flips, walls, burpees and crawls was the perfect event to get the juices flowing for next days 70 mile journey. I felt bad that I had to leave right away and could not party it up with the crew of Team Luxury Fitness. Next Time! Anyways, I had to drive back to San Juan to check-in my triathlon bike at transition. Once everything was set, I went into ironman mode. That usually means, no mojitos or pina colada, no fast food, only a pasta meal with chicken and lots and lots of fluids, mostly coconut water.
The morning of the Ironman arrived and I was more ready than ever before. I had for the first time EVER, trained for the bike portion of the event. Last year, I cover 15 miles of terrain and then take a break to stretch my back which has always been a problem with me. This year, I was leaner, faster and better conditioned for the bike portion. It definitely showed. After cycling from San Juan to Dorado and hitting what was the worst crosswind I have ever experienced, I came in about 30 minutes faster than last year. Similarly for the run. Although it was scorching hot, I manage to shave off 30 minutes on the run. This happened because I was better conditioned and in less pain coming out of the bike. Quick transitions and the fact that I had family members and friends watching me helped me get passed the crazy hot weather. In the end, I finished with a time of 5 hours and 47 minutes, which was enough for the top 30th percentile. That is something I can live with !
The next two days I spend drinking whisky to drown the leg pain and fatigue. It works wonders! I can’t wait for my next racing adventure. The following months I will be travelling to Dominican Republic, Mexico and Brazil since MudRunFun is involved with several events in these countries. For now, thanks for the memories Puerto Rico and see you next time. MudRunFun!
MudRunFun is the original obstacle racing calendar and by far the largest with over 1000 listed events in all continents, except Antarctica off course. That would be silly! Make sure to visit the site and if you are looking for race discount codes, click on this link!