Marathon Training in the Tropics

In a moment of weakness (read: travel fatigue coupled with birthday brain), I signed up for my first marathon.

*except the freezing part. I'll be sweating before I even start...

*except the freezing part. I’ll be sweating before I even start…

It seems everyone these days is signing up for an obstacle course race, or a triathlon, or a marathon, so what makes me say it was a “moment of weakness”? Well, let me count the ways…

1) I have always been very adamant that I would never run a marathon.

There goes that!

 2) At the risk of sounding like I have a drinking problem: marathon training is dedicated and hard, which means seriously cutting back on social events that revolve around cocktails.

Until you’ve lived on an island and have come to realize just how much of your life you spend in bars, you really can’t understand how difficult this is. Drinking is truly the Official Sport of the Islands.

Allow me to give you a simple example of why this is a real challenge for me. Here is a snippet of my calendar from just the other week:

Thursday: business lunch = 2 beer lunch
Thursday: business networking = wine tasting
Friday: networking golf event = 1 beer for every stroke over par (And yes, I suck at golf.)
Saturday: client boat trip = painkillers at Soggy Dollar/BBC’s at Cooper/champers at CocoMaya. Not my boat, not my itinerary – I’m just there to drink along the ride!
Sunday day: baby shower = brief liver respite
Sunday night: dinner party hosted by yours truly = wines (What is the plural of wine? Wines seems like a good guess…)

I’m sure you can see where this is going. Cutting out social events involving drinking quickly cuts out your social opportunities altogether. And yes, I’ll be the first to admit, you can do all of these things without drinking, but then you have to constantly defend that you are not, in fact, pregnant!

*click for image credit

3) I live on an island.

Roads? Crappy at best. Showers? Not always guaranteed, particularly in this record drought we’ve been experiencing. Hills? More than any reasonable training plans dictate. Daylight hours? A very tiny window between Too Hot to Run o’clock and Too Dark to Run hour. Access to proper training gear? Ha!

4) Sweat, sweat, sweat!

It is the Caribbean and yes, it is indeed warm on most days of the year. But now, it is summer which means that warm turns to HOT, and the fabulous trade winds that make my island a sailing mecca during the “winter” months have died a thousand deaths. Those two factors equate to sweating like you’ve never sweat before. Of course, the peak of my training is now centered during these next dreadfully hot months, so I have to just embrace the sweat. I have fully mastered the regular everyday survival skills of beating the island sweat lifestyle, but this is a whole new ball game.

–   –   –

As much as I doubt my decision to participate on a daily basis (even more so as I write this litany of legitimate complaints), it is too late now to even consider pulling out. Everyone near and dear to me has been told that I’m training for this beast, and so, if for ego alone, I must do it.

In the event that you, too, have a moment of weakness and decide that you want to tackle your first marathon while living on a tropical rock, my suggestion is that you embrace the denial of pregnancy, the lead time associated with ordering training gear, and most importantly, welcome the sweaty, sweaty mess that you will be.

After all, there is a post-marathon party to get to – and you’ll certainly be ready for a stiff drink at that point!

*click for image credit


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Melissa Brunner

About Melissa Brunner

Melissa lives on Tortola in the BVI where she finds there is never a shortage of oddities and quirks that often make her question her thought process, or lack thereof, which got her here in the first place. While adapting to the ways of the island, she finds herself smiling and nodding regularly while having no idea what someone has just told her, drinking far more fermented beverages that one probably should, and in constant struggle to avoid the island’s one rogue white horse. Her life on a rock may not be what she had first imagined, but it comes with no shortage of amusement, delight, and the occasional good lesson.

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8 thoughts on “Marathon Training in the Tropics

  1. how interesting to realize the simurality of ways of life among the ROCKS Inhabitants,,,,,,I enjoy reading your Blogs…..

  2. I know exactly what you are going through…I’ve done three marathons and I had to train through summer for both. I promised my husband that I wouldn’t do one this fall so it didn’t hamper with our social life. We live on the water so summer is my drinking time…and long runs and drinking do not go hand in hand. Which race are you running?

  3. This is too funny, especially since I feel your pain! This morning I woke up at 4am for an 11 miler (training for NYC marathon), mostly because I’m trying to avoid the dreaded sun. I ran on Monday at 845am and it was brutal! Good luck with your training and I know I’ll be drinking a 6-pack upon my finish, hope you do too;)

  4. Can you wear a hat when you run???
    PS — where in Western Canada. I last lived in Calgary, but grew up in Northern Saskatchewan.

    • Hats = Hot head! A visor works pretty well to at least keep the squinting to a minimum 🙂 I last lived in Vancouver but grew up in Saskatoon, nice to see the Saskatchewan group of WWLOR is growing!

  5. Pingback: Islanders Have Nothing to Do, so they Do One Another ~ Live Like a Goddess

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