Sunday Funday!

I am excited to offer my first contribution to this blog, though I hope that you will not mind I will have to write in English. Those of you who have been so sweet and patient enough to listen to my very novice Portuguese on training runs will surely appreciate the necessary choice of my native tongue to adequately describe an amazing run I shared this morning with João and Luisa Ralha, and João Fialho. Arriving in Sintra, sleepy and wishing we had gone to bed 3 hours earlier (or at least I am speaking for myself!), we set off on a loop that traversed 21 kilometers of the most beautiful winding roads that the mountain offers to us runners.

Immediately after leaving the historic center, I forgot my sleepiness and remembered why I get so excited every time an opportunity to run in Sintra presents itself. Today was particularly beautiful, sunny and clear and perfect for running. As we headed first towards Monserrate, winding through roads paved with gnarled oak trees, I was struck with a strong nostalgia for my hometown of Santa Barbara. As I have shared with some of you, parts of Sintra and the coast near Guincho are so similar to where i am from that I feel remarkably close to home. Running through the oaks, with each turn offering a view of the ocean and even glimpses of whitewater from the crashing waves, I keep feeling that I could very well be running through my family's property in Refugio, the mountains above Santa Barbara. Happy memories of home, and a feeling of thankfulness for the awesome beauty of this place I now live in, successfully distracted me completely from the increasingly steep hills that stretched before us, as we wound our way up the mountain. Waiting for me at the top was a fantastic surprise - a street called "Calçada de Santa Barbara"! confirming my sense of this being a 'home away from home".

The rest of the run brought us through ever more beautiful parts of the forest, and I kept reflecting on how lucky I have felt since I arrived here in Portugal. This group of runners has made me feel so welcome and is reflective of my experiences with everyone around me. I have been absolutely loving running here- it is a perfect way to explore this new place and share it with some amazing people!

To conclude I will just say that the last part of the run was some of the best training I have had in a while! João Fialho encouraged me to really push myself, and we kept an awesome pace from Capuchos back to the fountain. The last few inclines were hard as hell, and seemed infinitely longer than the same path we ran on Saturday! Now, hours later, my legs exhausted and tender, I am still basking in the glow from our run and feeling just as happy as when we finally finished the last kilometer.

Thank you all SO much for sharing your group with me, inviting me on runs, giving me rides, and just generally making my time here in Portugal so much more wonderful! Below are a few photos of Santa Barbara in case you are curious :)



Paulo Marcos disse…
You are most welcomed to the little group of ours!

And english is fast becoming the "lingua franca" where Run 4 Fun chapters acrosso the world do communicate among themselves.

Are you are an outstanding runner and a most nice company!
Very interesting contribution.
You write so well as you run, Claire.
A toast to Calçada de Santa Bárbara and to other possible luso-american links!
Our home may be our running...
Beautiful and exciting text Claire.

As mentioned Jorge, you almost wrote as you run, and you are a great runner.

It is a pleasure to have Your company on our races and in our "orange team".

(nice're right on the resemblance between Santa Barbara and Sintra)

I guess we will see you on next Sunday, for the "fim da Europa" training (you'll really like the expirience).


(sorry my not so good as your portuguese :-) )
Joao Fialho disse…
congratulations on your first post on our blog.
It is really good!

While reading we almost feel your joy running in Sintra!
João Ralha disse…
Excelente relato Claire.

Não há dúvida que escreves muito bem. É difícil comparar com o teu nível de corrida que é muito alto, ainda por cima "puxada" pelo João Fialho.

Já agora poderias também falar sobre o encontro que vai haver na CCU (Fundação Champalimaud, julgo que amanhã.

Beautiful post, Claire. Almost poetic. I felt the same when I runned, some years ago, in California. It´s amazing the resemblance of that sea shore and surroundings and ours. As a newcomer to this fantastic group, like you, I felt the same support and friendship since the first run at Vela Latina.
Welcome to Portugal.
Gonçalo Fontes de Melo
Franco Wudich disse…
You're welcome Claire! So emotional post that show us your real sense about Sintra's forest. I understanding you perfectly about your longing for Santa Barbara , as a foreigner like you.
I hope to recovery from my injury to run beside you in this fantastic Sintra!

Luis Correia disse…
Glad to hear (read) about how exciting it was to you to run (one of) the Sintra loops.

The good new is that there are much more running routes there.

Ask Joao about something called Eufemia.

Looking forward to running with you.
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