On a recent trip to Peru with a friend we did 2 hikes, one near Lima and the other near Cusco.
Near Lima, Marcahuasi is one of those open secrets that you hope it'll never become too popular. It's a stone forest filled with rocks that resemble human, animal, and alien faces and shapes. Some believe that it was laid out and constructed by aliens or unknown races, maybe even the Incas. I think it's all the work of nature, but no matter what, it is a mystical place that one can't forget. It certainly deserves more than a one-night stay but that's all we had time for.
Near Cusco is of course the famed Machu Picchu city/fortress but getting to it via a multi-day trek was most of the fun. We chose the Salkantay trek because the Inca trail was at capacity with only 500 allowed per day. In return we were treated to more nature than history/culture and less crowds. Salkantay offers majestic mountains with glaciers, green rolling fields, innumerable waterfalls, and pristine scenery that is hard to beat.
The final trekking day ended in the town of Aguas Calientes with its hot springs and finally Machu Picchu which doesn't need a description of its beauty. The hike to the top of the Machu Picchu mountain and the views from its peak left us breathless.
Here I'd like to take the opportunity to thank our local guides by sharing their web sites. We actually picked them at random and they both turned out to be outstanding. I assume most licensed guides in Peru are of high caliber, reasonably priced, and they can facilitate things greatly, so having them is definitely advised.
Marcahuasi - www.huancayaperu.com
Machu Picchu - www.salkantaycuscotrek.com
* This is unsolicited and I receive nothing in return for mentioning them.
Salkantay Blue lagoon
Machu Picchu Mountain
When I travel for business I try to mix in some pleasure. In most cases that means taking the weekend at the end of the trip to explore new places around the area.
This was the case with my recent trip to Las Vegas. I ended up exploring the Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead. Beautiful places with plenty of hiking and swimming.
Calico Tanks in Red Rock Canyon. Moderate hike.
View from Turtlehead Peak at Red Rock Canyon. Las Vegas strip visible in the distance. Strenuous hike.
Red Rock Canyon from my hotel room, bathing in the morning sunlight.
Lake mead from an overlook. Clearly low water levels, indicated from the light/dark contrast on the islands. Swimming is still allowed from the Boulder beach.
Shot from the top of Hoover dam. Clearly visible bathtub ring indicates historic low water levels.
The New York City marathon is everything they say and much more. I have been to a few races in my time and to New York city as a visitor (including one new year's eve) but nothing like this.
The city was alive, electric, vibrant, and loud, and so was I as a runner. I didn't even feel tired from all the energy I was drawing from the crowd. This city knows how to throw a party and it was unforgettable.
On a sad note, here's a story of the oldest female runner who died the day after completing the race. Kudos to her. This is exactly how I'd like to leave this world. One kick ass run and then a swift trip to the other side. A true inspiration, may she rest in peace.
Joy Johnson, New York marathon's oldest woman dies next day
Took me some time on Google to find out about the road closures during the 2013 New York City marathon. Head on over to Gridlock Sam for that info. Figured another entry for this post in the Google index maybe helpful to those searching for this info. Good luck to the runners.
A dome of heat and humidity has covered the northeast for some time now and doesn't seem ready to move on. Running in such condition isn't fun, but some of us endorphin junkies don’t have a choice. Conditions be damned, the run must go on.
Read an interesting and humorous article on this and some of the points make perfect sense to me, in particular, the dislike of waking up at dawn to beat the heat, and the dread of going to the gym.
Eventually the cold and short days will be here forcing me back into the gym on weekdays. For now, I just wipe, wring out, and shake off the sweat, happy to have avoided the gym for one more day.
Big sympathy for Boston, the marathon runners, and those affected in the senseless act of violence.
Hope for a swift and severe justice to whoever did this to one of my favorite cities and one of my favorite activities.
The Miami Marathon was held on Sunday, Jan. 27 and I was happy to be a part of it. I have been travelling to Miami during the same dates for the past several years and always wanted to run in this event. This year I decided to fly in a couple of days early and take part.
I'm not a big fan of races. To me running is a way to relax, unwind and be with my own thoughts. Races are anything but. They're loud, crowded, with rigid start times, course clocks, pre-determined mileages, etc., not exactly relaxing. I don't train for races either. they take too much time and discipline. I just go about my own runs and then just go for the race. Not exactly a winning strategy as I have been unable to break 4 hours, but I have no plans to address that with training.
Some observations on the Miami Marathon:
- Runners were required to pick up their numbers from the convention center 1 or 2 days prior to the show. I understand that they want people to attend the expo, but that creates a bit of inconvenience for people who must travel to the event.
- The race started at 6 am with shuttle pickups at 4 am. That's way too early for me but it's probably done to get in front of the heat. Upper 70's was forecast later on the race day.
- One thing I didn't like about the event was that the half and full marathoners shared the same course for the entire half. That did create a bit of traffic jam with the 25,000 runners in some areas where the streets were narrower. Other marathons separate full and half marathoners in a mile or two after the start and that helps spread out the crowd making the courses less dense.
Overall the event was well organized with a decent number of aid stations and entertainment zones, and the course was interesting with good crowd support, and a nice finisher medal to top it off. I even got a banana from a woman handing them out from her own property. Thanks, whoever you were, it was at the perfect time. And if one was inclined, the ocean was near enough for a quick post-race dip. Who can beat that in mid-winter?
I don't like government regulation much but there are areas that concern health and safety where government regulation may not be a bad thing.
Making electric cars a bit noisier is one of those areas (Electric Cars Must Make Noises Can Hear Under U.S. Rule). As a runner and walker I have been startled by the noiseless cars a few times. No close calls for me and all my senses including hearing are unencumbered by modern gadgets. Yet I can see how the battery powered cars could pose a danger to people not hearing them or believing they are shut off and parked just before they dart out.
If this saves one life, and I'm sure it will save more, then the cost would absolutely be worth it.
Last weekend brought the sad news of a young woman dying just short of the finish line of the London marathon. She was running for a good cause - suicide prevention - at had collected about $700 then, now standing at over $1 million with the outpouring of support from people.
There are some who have criticized her for exerting herself to that point and many label marathons as a dangerous sport. Yes, marathons could be dangerous and in some cases deadly, so what? Life is dangerous and eventually deadly.
As a fellow runner I admire this woman's conviction and her compassion to tie her love of running to a charitable cause. She died doing what she loved and supporting a cause she cared about. That deserves a ton of respect.
On one occasion I was overcome with heat just after a run and passed out. When I came to, I thought that this is how I would like to die, doing what I love, not battling advanced age or illness on my death bed. Nothing wrong with the latter, it's just not my preference. I'll be in the upcoming NYC marathon this year, and if anything, this young woman has given me more motivation to keep on running.
Hard to believe it's been over 4 years since being struck with a herniated disc. As known to most, herniated discs don't heal, but with some luck they shrink and take pressure off the spinal cord. For me, there are the occasional flare ups and annoying tingling down the left leg, but other than those, life has been pretty normal.
I avoid lifting heavy objects, do conditioning exercises every morning, and walk daily. There's plenty of running too every other day, like 12 hilly miles this past weekend. I ran a marathon last year in Hartford, CT with no ill effects on my back and this year I'll be running the New York City marathon.
I guess the point is that a herniated disc doesn't necessarily mean having a disability, at least based on my 4-year track record so far. If you have it, be patient, treat it with care, and with some luck it'll just be an occasional minor inconvenience.
Past herniated disc posts:
MRI, Back Pain, Herniated Disc, and Running - Feb. 2008
Herniated Disc, on Steroid - Feb. 2008
Herniated Disc, Six Months Later - Aug. 2008
Herniated Disc and Half Marathon - Sep. 2008