Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in one of Portugal’s Sky Races; Hard Trail Monte Da Padela!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in one of Portugal’s Sky Races; Hard Trail Monte Da Padela!! This Mountain Race was a bit shorter in distance than what I am used to, it was a 25K, but fortunately for me, it still had a good bit of uphill and downhill on clear cut mountain terrain with technical footing and some sweet high points.
The area where the race was held, was where I found myself wandering and training during the time I was working as a Workaway client at a Naturalist Campground, NauturViana. Kimberly and I chose to do a workaway to save money and to be involved more in the culture here in Portugal. But little did we know, we actually agreed to work a a nudist campground in the mountains outside of Viana Do Castello. hahaha it was not a big deal but we were closed off from society for the majority of our stay in Portugal but still had a fun and unique experience to say the least.
Fortunately for me during my training runs in the Padela Mountains, I turned some heads on Strava. Taking down some course records and segments. I had some of the locals asking the question, “who is this guy taking down my times, and where and what is he doing here”.
“Such a selfless and kind thing for them to take that time to help me see and know the course better.”
My Workaway host set up a ‘run date’ for me to run with the only runner he knew. The runner is now a new dear friend of mine, Augusto. And we had a great and quiet 3 hour long run in the mountains. I say “quiet” because I do not know the Portuguese language and Augusto does not know english so there was a good bit of charades being tossed back and forth.
Two days later, Augusto came back but this time he had two more new friends!
OJ Silva and João Afonso . We had an incredible run together and later we discussed the idea for me to race in the National Portuguese Sky Race that was happening in the mountains I had been training in.
After a workout in the rain, I came back to the place we were staying and João, Augusto and
André Silva found me to give me some gifts and invited me to be apart of their running club. They gave me shirts and socks so I could represent the club, The Terapias Alexandra Carvalho Team, and also gave me a gift card to get a free massage from Alexandra Carvalho herself! The massage was an incredible experience. Alexandra met me twice and Andre came up the mountain to pick me up every time.
I went running with those guys more during the next couple days and OJ Silva and João Afonso even previewed the course with me the day before, and they were not even racing. Such a selfless and kind thing for them to take that time to help me see and know the course better.
The morning of the race, Alexanda and Ana Fael came to pick up Kimberly and me, and take us to the start of the race. After the race started, they met up with me on the course at four different locations! Talk about some great support!!
Portugal has been a really incredible experience. When you just let go and decide to go with the flow and trust, things just work out and make out a beautiful story.
I am so thankful for the time I had running in the mountains here and even more thankful I was able to make memories with new friends. Thank you Portugal!!
I hope to return again soon!