Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Marco, This Is For You

(Gratuitous photo of me, at Monasterio de San Leandro, a cloistered convent. That sells candy.)

I'm been trying hard to catch up since I've been back. But you people are relentless!

Let's start with Marco.

Marco Antonio, to be exact. He was named after the Roman emperor, he told me. He spoke a few words of English, I spoke a few words of Spanish, and we both spoke that other language—yes, the language of pain.


Well there is some history before we get to Marco.

Last Monday, after the Thanksgiving yoga class and treadmill embroglio, I laced up the shoes and decided to go for a 90-minute run along the river in Sevilla. This is not as easy as it sounds because 1) I had only the vaguest notion of where I was, and where the river was, and 2) the street names in Sevilla change every 50 feet.

(Map of Seville, in mosaic.)

Regardless, I was determined, because I had a half-marathon to prepare for!

Here's a curious thing. My entire time in Sevilla (six days) I saw a total of maybe seven runners. All of them at night. And all of them men. So here I was, dressed to the nines, as usual, in my lycra this and dri-max that, running through the streets of Sevilla. I felt a wee bit ... exposed. And then I got mad. Because, despite all the warnings I received, I never once got hit on! Is it possible I didn't look so good?!?! Nahhhhh...

Back to the run. Of course I had the Shuffle hooked up, and I was bopping along to the tunes, taking in the beautiful weather, the sites, trying to memorize everything I passed so that I could make the return trip.

I felt a slight twinge at the top of my right thigh. No matter. And a more severe twinge on the bottom of my right foot. So, of course, I ignored both pains.

I ran toward the river, past the Plaza de Espana

About 40 minutes in, things were starting to really go south. I was aiming to get to the bridge that was built for the 1992 World Expo, and looks like a harp

... but I didn't make it. Part of the run was on cobblestones and that was killing me because each step was a different height from the one before it. I pushed on to 45 minutes and then took a break and assessed the situation. Foreign city. No phone. No espanol. Only one way back. I tried stretching. Walking. Running. Rinse. Repeat.

I did however, have my debit card with me. So I stopped in at—are you ready?—a Starbucks. Sigh. To get some water, rest and think. Unfortunately you need an ID with a debit card. No tengo. I begged and cried (a universal language!) and the kid relented and gave me the agua. I made my way outside and sat at a lovely outdoor table; I was enjoying life. I was ... oh-so-European! What's a little pain in the face of so much beauty? I'd get home eventually. That feeling lasted right up until the waiter from the restaurant in whose chair I was sitting came over and shooed me away. I guess having the lyrcra-clad sweaty American with the big ugly running shoes sitting at his table was not exactly bringing in the biz.


The good news is I (of course) made it back to my hostess' house. The bad news is I was limping. However, I sucked it up and spent the rest of the day walking (more about that later).

Number One Daughter belongs to a health club. Health club offered massages. So I scheduled one for the following day, Tuesday, at 1:00.

At 1:05 Tuesday, I was ready and waiting. And in he walked. He took me upstairs. I explained where it hurt. He poked and prodded and found the spot (it's exactly in one spot), and then he did what he does.

And he does it very, very well.

Afterwards, we had a lovely chat. He showed me a photo of his fiancee and bebe (grrr). So, at least I knew he was on my team. I asked if I could take his photo because I would be blogging about him. I said all that in Spanish. Sort of.

If ever you find yourself in Sevilla, in need of a sports massage, go here:
Cuesta del Rosario 8, Pasaje Interior
(and by the way, none of that will help you; I walked by CuestaSport about 47 times before I found it.)

So, try this:

When you get there, ask for Marco:

He'll make you feel good.


However, curiously, one massage will not fix you. So I remain somewhat broken. I am supposed to run this on Sunday with Bex and Susie and David and I guess that would be a dumb thing to do. I'm going to try to run tomorrow. Just to see. So far this week I've biked and ellipticalled. Oh, and ate three donuts today. Just because.


brent said...

it looks so cool there!

Juls said...

I love the photos.

21st Century Mom said...

What an experience. Maybe they don't hit on you because they can see you are American and they have seen these signs.

Sorry your leg is letting you down. I know how badly you wanted to run that half. Guess you'll just have to keep the beer garden warmed up while you wait for them to come in.

Just12Finish said...

If Marco has a sister who gives massages ... then we're talkin'

Anita said...

Now, that's the kind of story I've been waiting to read!

Waterfall said...

Ah, I'm glad Marco was able to make you feel better. I'm limping, too, and my first half-marathon is supposed to be on Saturday. Can you give me directions to CuestaSport?

L*I*S*A said...

What a great experience. How funny there was a Starbucks there. Seems we cannot escape them!

I'll be sure to look up Marco when I'm in Seville, too. :)

Thomas said...

Don't worry about not getting hit on. An acquaintance of mine went to Morocco a few years back. The men CONSTANTLY whistled after her. One evening she went out for a run, and all of a sudden the very same men that had done all those catcalls showed her a lot of respect. Someone said it's because Moroccans are truly mad for sports, and highly respect anyone who's doing it. Maybe it's similar in Spain.

a.maria said...

aw, marco looks friendly. i like him.

a mi me gusta!

good job on the running attempt, sorry to hear about injury.

i'm jealous about the donuts.

Susan said...

Your blog rocks!!!!!! Now join my challenge!

susie said...

Ahhh, Marco. Worth the pain, I assume? Even if you don't run, we'll have fun. And eat. And whatever. You can laugh at me coming up the HILL!!

Bob said...

Awsome photo's and I love the line we both now how to speak the universal language, pain. I laughed out loud

Bolder said...

marco does not look satisfied.

was that before or after you let him touch your body?

Firefly's Running said...

Ti amor Marco! :D The pictures look absolutely beautiful. :D

Lora said...


Wanna-be 5k-er said...

I am thinking those Spanish men did indeed hit on you, but you had your Shuffle on and just didn't hear 'em!!!! :-D

Feel better, rest up a bit! Thank you for allowing us to visit Spain with you for a while:-)

Rae said...

What a beautiful place!! I love that bridge!

Welcome back and good luck on Sunday!

Bex said...

Love the photos and update. And Starbucks in Espana. But of course.

Damn it, I should have bought stock in that company years ago before it got big. But E. said I would be wasting my money. And for once I listened to him. Argh.

My body is flabby yet sore from doing a wimpy speed workout yesterday. I need Marco ....

Black Knight said...

I don't need Marco, I don't feel safe with him beyond me!
Beautiful pics!

Rose said...

Yes, I can see why one massage would not be enough to "fix" things. Clearly, a long term course of massage will be needed while you are there!

Wonderful report!

Billy said...

Hi Jean, I'm new to your blog but loved your report of running in Spain. It looks wonderful. My wife and I went for a long run in the South of France recently and we too noticed a distinct lack of other runners despite some glorious routes. Funny, the mediteraneans do produce many great marathon runners too.
I too am approaching 50 but, being male, think I look great!! If you'd like to see my own blog then go to

David said...

Marco Schmarco. Look what he did to your running! Even forced you to eat donuts!
I am just plain appalled.

Neese said...

i just love your curls. great blog entry, welcome back! :o)

BF's mum said...

OK, Jeanne, if you HAVE to slow down, at least for a while, then you can WALK with me and start planning your next european trek