I am a creature of habit and when I travel, it’s no different. Each place I visit, I bring routine with me. A stop at the grocery store, oatmeal for breakfast, church on Sundays, and then there is the more elusive daily run. I made it happen in the DR,
in Puerto Rico, in Colombia, and wanted to make it happen in Quito.
I was up
early on Saturday early enough on Saturday to put my running sneakers on and head out. That’s when the woman sweeping the floor interjected that I just had to go to Parque Itchimbía. I was skeptical, I had a route all planned out on gmap-pedometer but she was confident and smiling. I decided to bend and take the advice.
I got directions as best as I could (IE, in Spanish). Essentially she said: go up the stairs until the stairs end and then, go up the hill until the hill ends. Sounded easy enough. Of course at 2,850m, nothing comes easy.
The first twenty steps and I was out of breath almost shaking, so I slowed down and soldiered on. Didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the locals. I would get up this freakin’ hill.
And it was totally worth it. Quick lesson: always take advice from women sweeping the floor. Look at what was waiting for me.
Running in Parque Itchimbía is now part of my morning routine (or at least I think it is, ask me again next week). The views are great-this morning I spotted some snow covered peaks in the distance-and there is a grassy path that circles the park and is perfect for me. So no running through crazy traffic or traffic fumes. I think the path is meant for walking dogs but even at 7am, I’m not the only runner.
In total, it’s about a 3 mile run plus 175 steps up and 175 steps down from where I’m staying. With the altitude though, it feels more like 30 miles. Either way, it feels like a huge accomplishment and a great start to my time in Ecuador.