The hardest part of marathon training for me isn’t the 20-mile runs. It’s the week or so before race day known as “the taper,” when suddenly you have to run less and rest more. Rest? Me? A type-A woman in New York City? No chance. So with a race approaching, I booked a trip to Barbados with my surfing buddy, Erica.
The island’s west coast is famous for its white-sand beaches, but its less tourist-trodden eastern side is known for great surf breaks. Surfing might not sound restful, but if Erica and I were left to lounge on the beach, we knew we’d end up on our BlackBerrys. The only way to truly unplug was to get in the water. My legs needed a vacation, but the rest of my muscles were ready to play.
Melanie Pitcher, an eighth-generation Barbadian and owner of Barbados Surf Trips, picked us up from our apartment near Crane Beach, three boards balanced precariously atop her van. A 30-minute drive through sugarcane fields took us to the town of Bathsheba. For hours the three of us rode the gently rolling, glassy waves.
This was our routine for the next four days—we’d surf until our arms couldn’t paddle another stroke. The action in the water forced us into a state of relaxation back on land. We’d recover with coconut water and a nap in the shade of a palm. When race day came, I ran so well that I’ve now made a “taper” surf trip a mandatory part of any future marathon training.
Stay at the Atlantis Hotel in Tent Bay. Rooms from $255. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.