A Beautiful Three Day 130k through Colombia

Over the last three days I have run about 130km from Santafe de Antioquia to Pintada. The km splits were 35/47/47 which keeps me firmly on track for a marathon a day (without breaks). Santefe de Antioquia is a beautiful colonial town about 60km North West of Medellin. I haven’t been in old colonial towns since Nicaragua and it was nice to be surrounded by such beautiful architecture once again. Another nice thing about Santafe de Antioquia is that there are no western tourists.

The running has been varied. After the 57km day to Santafe de Antioquia my foot was a little tender and sadly I had to hobble most of the first day. On the second day I managed to run a full day and today it was mostly running while being sensitive to how my foot feels. It’s interesting but there are so many signs to look out for while running to gauge just how far I can push myself. Normally it is just the level of pain on side of the foot. If it is bearable I push on through but if the pain turns to short sharp attacks then I pull up, rest and resort to walking a little. Then there is the tightness in the leg. Most of the problems are on the left leg and I can tell there is a problem with my flexibility because when I am running I can feel tightness in my calve muscle, my thigh and in my bottom. I have a foam roller and massage ball and try to use these as much as possible but I am aware I am not dedicated enough. Then there is sound. When I am running properly and everything is working then my running shoes lightly graze the tarmac and everything is harmonious. However, when things are not going as they should I can hear the sole of my shoe strike the road with a slapping sound. When this happens I know I need to adjust how I am running and with some focus I can normally correct things enough to make sure I can continue.

The scenery is also something that motivates me. In Santafe de Antioquia I had two options. I could either go east to Medellin and then south or head south then east. There were definitely attractions to both routes. The first would take me through Medellin which is a great city that has a reputation of having amazingly beautiful (sometimes enhanced) women and the second was a lot flatter. Some may be surprised but I decided to take the flatter route rather than the slightly more ample option and to be honest I am very glad I did. The whole 130km was a valley with huge green mountains on each side and a huge brown river running through the centre. The traffic was minimal and there were very few villages. Luckily for me there were little villages perfectly located at the end of each days running.

The first was Anza which was nestled in the hills about 1.5km off the main road. The villages was small and mainly focussed round a town square with a large church taking up one end. All around the square were little cafés and shops, mostly selling the same stuff. Children ran around after dogs, dogs ran after a random horse and parents tried to control the chaos with varying levels of care or success. It was a lovely rural place to rest my head.

The second village was the marvellously named Bolombolo. It was locate just off the main road and was remarkably bustling for such a small place. I found a little hotel on the main street above a saddlery and set out some admin. As the sun set the shops closed and the streets emptied. It became apparent later that they emptied into a small bar as the sounds of singing (or screeching) ran on into the night.

Tonight I am in Pintada which seems a nice enough place for a town straddling the main road. It is obviously a hub for the local area with restaurants, bars, discotheques and shops catering for everyone’s needs and desires. I was an easy customer to satisfy with chicken and ice-cream doing the trip.

Tomorrow I head south and continue my relentless march to Buenos Aires. With over 400km covered in just 11 days I am making great progress but I need to focus on making sure I am in the right place, both mentally and physically to ensure I can keep this pace up without doing damage to myself or losing enjoyment in what I am doing.

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