Thursday, February 28, 2013

Balancing Training & Travel: Sayulita Mexico

This month we spent 11 days in an old fishing village 45min north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico called Sayulita.  We travelled with our moms and Trent's sister and family.  We all wanted a place that could make everyone happy... sunny, beachy and relaxing, but with potential recreational opportunities all at the same time.

I often find it a challenge to fit in my training while on vacation. The most important thing I have learned is to be flexible and adapt my training plan so that I am setting smaller more tangible goals and let go the structure that I typically cling to when I at home and in my regular routine.  I am fortunate, however, that my family knows that training is a priority to me and they are very supportive.  This trip both Grandma's were happy to help out for early morning outings as we ended up renting a house from that would accommodate 8 of us comfortably.  It had a kitchen so we could cook and a pool so the kids would have endless hours of fun when we weren't at the beach.  We made fresh homemade salsa and guacamole almost every day.  We also cooked things like BBQ shrimp (the size of our heads) and mahi mahi tuna.

I didn't have time to get any "long" runs in, so I made up the mileage by running shorter runs, more frequently through-out the week and got up between 5:00 & 6:00am so I could be back by the time the family was getting up and we could have breakfast the rest of the day together with my workout out of the way.  Not to mention is was so friggen hot and humid by 9am it was worth it to get up early :)

My sister'n'law, Jana, is also a runner so between her and my husband, I usually had a running partner to explore with.  The downside is that Sayulita doesn't have a lot of options.  It is a super small little village, so we were limited.  Not to mention it was mostly cobblestone streets and any dirt roads we found were as hard a concrete.  So basically we had 'roads' to tour on only.

DAY 1 (off)
We all slept in because we sat up on the roof top the night before having a few Pacifico's.  Our flights arrived later in the afternoon into Puerto Vallarta and then we drove 45min to Sayulita.  So it was nice to make our first morning a lazy one.

DAY 2 (75min + 20 min of stability/mobility band work)
We went and explored the village and surrounding hills.  We were trying to get up to a certain repeater tower on Nanzal hill.  Once we found it, it was worth it.  It was a paved/cobblestone road that only climbed 330feet, but it was better than flat road and the view at the top was beautiful.   

DAY 3 (60min + 25min yoga)
Trent and I headed back to Nanzal Hill and did 3 quick repeats.  We booked a charter| whale watching tour so we had to be back by 8am. 

DAY 4 (45min + 20min of stability/mobility band work)
I headed out on my own for a quickie.  I kept it short and stuck close to our house.  I found a new fun little loop that ran along the coast and by this beautiful cemetery.  It has a dirt road/hill that was a great grade for running up.  I planned to go back to do repeats another day.

DAY 5 (75min)
Trent, Jana and I headed out on what we now called the 'cementary loop.'  We did 3 repeats and on the 2nd repeat took a detour that lead us up some more hills and down to a secluded beach.

We were hit with Monsoon's Revenge.  I made it 50 meters before turning back to use the washroom.  yikes!

DAY 7 (20min of stability and mobility work)
I was up during the night with my Mom as she was sick.  My nephew and brother'n'law were also sick, so we all stayed close to home and helped look after the sickies.

DAY 8 (95min/2200 feet)
Trent and I did 5 repeats on Nanzal hill.  On our way back home, we ran over to see Victorino, a local artist who I hired to create a custom painting for me. It was his 2nd day working on it and it was really starting to come to life!

DAY 9 (70min)
Trent and I headed back out on the ol' cemetery loop and then picked up Carter at the the house and he came and did a repeat up Nanzal Hill with us.  He is such a good little runner!  We just love that we can run together as a family :)

The last two days of our holiday I opted out of running.  My heels were starting to get sore from all the pavement and pounding and I didn't want to dig a hole I couldn't get out of.  We all know how easy that can happen ;)  Especially for only 2 more days of running.  Instead, I was patient, rested my feet and despite the snow/rain and cooler temps we returned to in town today,  I headed out for an hour run to test my heels and they felt fine.  I stuck to trails and although my energy level was a little low from the jet lag and general lack of sleep with our crappy flight, it was great to be back home blazing the local trails.

For anyone looking for a fun holiday destination in Mexico I recommend Sayulita.  Surfing, paddle boarding, really friendly and safe.  There are lots of great houses to rent with one bedroom to 5-6 bedrooms and they're reasonably priced.  Here are a few more fun shots from this great little village and our holiday...

All sorts of positive signs and paintings in the town

huge farmers market with fresh fruit, music and crafts

*follow your D R E A M S*

Thanks for reading and good luck to all of you out there who balance training and family time while on holidays or just in daily life too!  We're lucky that our lives are filled with the love and joy that our children/family and our outdoor pursuits do.   Best of both worlds!


  1. Rene! My family has a place 15 minutes further down from Sayulita. I always just run on the beach in the early mornings. Do you recommend running on the harder than concrete, uneven dirt roads instead of somewhat squishy and uneven sand? Again, you continue to be my hero for making running a priority, even while on vacation with your family. :)

  2. Hi Annilee! Wow, your parents are very fortunate... what a beautiful place in the world to spend time and R&R. We talked to many people who visited Sayulita from places just 'outside' that were doing day trips because they thought Sayulita was too tourisy/expensive. We spent a lot of time cooking at our house and lived a very simple life while we were there so that didn't impact us so much. Plus our main goal was to avoid big resorts, so we thought it was a good balance. But perhaps, if you wouldn't mind, you could give me more info on the town your parents go to. It sounds even more low key.

    As far as running down there goes, I don't recommend one surface to the other and both have risks to potential injury if you're body isn't used to running on terrain like that. The sand stresses all sorts of tiny little muscles in the feet and peroneals and due to the instable surface/slidding around can wear down your body over time.

    As far as the roads go, unless you run road regularily, the 'roads' down there are either concrete rocks which are uneven and hard. The dirt roads I found were just as hard too, likely due to the heavy rainfall seasons. So the pouding on these surfaces travels all the way up the body.

    So I think it is just important to be mindful of not overdoing it and listening to you body when you train on surfaces that your body is not used to. Plus, making time for a proper post run recovery session including a good stretch, self massage and cerveza ;)

    Miss you Annilee and I always LOVE hearing from you. Would love to grab a coffee next time you're in Kelowna. xo