I went to Aruba and all I could think about was Natalie Holloway. I ran some thirty miles on that little island and there are definitely some desolate and forsaken places where it's easy to imagine bad things happening. If you never left the manicured grounds of your luxury hotel and the long strip of white sand and turquoise water on the west side of the island, you'd be left wondering how on earth a girl could just disappear into thin air here, but it only takes a five minute jog to see the rougher side of Aruba, where rocky sands might easily hide a body and harsh winds could easily cover a few panicked screams.
Other than that though, the place was lovely. Palm trees and cacti, living together in peace and harmony. I can't say that I recommend it as a vacation destination...it's just too damn expensive. Like I said though, I got in a decent run nearly every morning and finished the week with 33 miles under my belt. Between the swimming and the horseback riding, I did a fair amount of cross training as well, so aside from the worrisome twinges that I'm still feeling on my right shin, I feel ready to start piling on the miles again. I guess I'll know by the end of the month if a fast Spring marathon is a realistic goal for me.
It was actually quite nice running in the park this morning since the temperature was fairly mild and I hadn't been a big fan of Aruba's 100% humidity. I feel obligated to put in a little public service announcement here though, as I returned from vacation to some upsetting news about a friend from work. One of my colleagues is a committed bike commuter who rides to and from the office every day through the park. On Wednesday morning, two runners stepped abruptly into the bike lane and he was forced to break hard and swerve around them. He ended up hitting the same patch of ice that they were trying to avoid and crashed hard, shattering both his femur and his tibia. Neither runner stopped to help (though later runners did) and he lay on the pavement in near freezing temperatures for more than half an hour. The saving grace to all of this was that he was wearing his helmet and that probably saved his life. Now he's in the hospital and facing the prognosis of not being able to put any weight on his right leg for a year.
So, those of us who run in parks and share space with bikers, please remember to look carefully before you switch lanes and if you must run with headphones on, be all the more cautious. Those of you who bike, remember to ride defensively and be prepared to react to off leash dogs and careless pedestrians and always wear a helmet. Okay, I'm done lecturing, but as you could tell, I was definitely shaken by the sight of an active, healthy person struck down by a split-second misfortune.