After a lovely day off at Playa Los Cocos it was time to drag myself away. The sun, sea and sand will be missed but the hospitality and company of Jackie and Dean will be more of a lost… luckily, I know I will see them again in Loreto, 111km further south.
My plan was to venture a little further down the coast and spend a bit of time and an evening at Playa Requeson. Sadly the wind picked up and the appeal of a night at Buenaventura seemed more inviting than shivering on the beach. I knew that I had made the right decision when I sat down for a meal cooked by Mark (the owner) who had rustled up marinated Yellow Fin (fish) with rice and salad and I was able to enjoy it with a lovely couple who were also staying and very generously paid for my meal!!!)
After a good night’s rest I packed up early and hit the road. It was 94km to Loreto and I wanted to try and make as big a dent as possible. The first part of the run took me along the shore of the Bay of Concepcion. While there may have been cacti on hills and pelicans flying past, the scenery bore a remarkable resemblance to Loch Lomand, somewhere I have been driven a lot in my youth, and when I added Highland Cathedral the illusion was complete. I strode on with a big smile on my face with a slight feeling on homesickness for Scotland.
At about km18 Jackie and Dean drove past and amazingly stopped to prepare me a couple of burritos and quinoa. This proved to be the only real food I was to eat for quite a few km!!!
At the end of the bay the road starts climbing up without much respite. It was at this point that I started to realise that my diet was having a negative effect on my running. Something I will touch on later. Determined to continue I clenched my teeth and pushed on. I finally reached the summit and was rewarded with a valley stretching as far as the eye could see and the Gigantes lining the horizon. With the road a little flatter and a couple of small shops to refuel (on Coke and crisps) I managed to keep pushing on and finally made it to a small “restaurant” having completed 58km.
The reason I put restaurant in inverted commas is because when I asked what they had on the menu they replied by saying that all they had was beer and crisps. At this point I had been joined by a Mexican cyclist called Hugo. One thing led to another and the beers started to flow and the thought of food diminished. This was going to come back to haunt me.
The next morning I set off in blind hope that the road was going to continue as it had finished, flat and picturesque. Unfortunately that was not to be the case. For the last 37km into Loreto the road went up and down but never allowed itself to go flat. This meant that I was working doubly as hard without any rest as down hills are as taxing for me as up hills… The bad diet, or lack of diet, for the last couple of days would come to haunt me.
When I was in America I could afford to eat lots of junk food because it was merely topping up a pretty rounded diet that included a lot of good fats and protein. The problem in Mexico is that the general availability of a good diet deteriorates and the balance between good and junk goes off kilter. This is magnified when you are dehydrated and slightly sleep deprived.
One of the problems is that I have been watching the budget rather than the diet. What I didn’t realise if that if I don’t watch the diet then there won’t be an expedition and therefore budget becomes nullified. Luckily this realisation means I just need to eat more and that is something I am good at when I put my mind to it. I am burning over 5000Kcal a day and therefore I need to eat that much as well…
After an agonising 5 hours of running Loreto came into sight and the last of my will power pushed me on. This was the hardest part of my run so far and while I hated every minute of it the relief of arriving in Loreto felt all the more welcome.