Today we met a Mendoza running group for a run. They were supposed to meet at 9am. John and I are used to meeting the Gazelles and running at 5:45am on Saturdays, so 9 is a little crazy.
We ran to the park and arrived at the meeting spot at 8:55. We didn't see anyone and devised our own running plan, since we figured we had the time wrong. A few minutes after 9, coach Turco pulled up in his tiny Volkswagon with a big smile on his face. Others were right behind him. Again, the runners were very kind to us and said hello, introduced themselves and did the cheek to cheek kiss greeting which makes you feel like you've been friends forever even though you just met.
The temperature was a crisp 57 degrees. I was the only woman in shorts and John was one of about half the men in shorts. Most everyone was in tights and jackets! Turco had us run around to warm up and then explained the workout before we all ran a mile to the starting area together. Since some people are running the full marathon and some the half marathon next weekend, we had our choice to do 10 to 20k (6-12 miles) progressive run on a 5k course. John and I each did 9 miles. We felt great the first 7-8 miles and then we both thought we were going to pass out the last 1/2 mile which was up a steady hill. However, as always, it felt great to get a long run in!
After the run we returned to our hotel to shower and then go eat. We were totally wiped out, so we checked out Florentino, the cute restaurant next door to our hotel. We looked at the menu and when I saw they had not only brunch, but vegetarian and gluten-free options, I knew we had to try it. Our food was delicious and the ambiance of the place charming. We sat in the sunshine-filled courtyard among red geraniums, sipping cafe con leche and feeling completely at ease.
After a nap and reading time, John encouraged us, and by us I mean me, to go to the free salsa lesson in the park at 5:30. The park was happening!! Dreadlocked kids drummed in a drum circle, women kickboxed in a class put on by the city, families picknicked and young couples strolled around the park.
The salsa class never happened. It must have been delayed or canceled, so we went to dinner and for dessert enjoyed dulce de leche gelato, which Argentina is known for. The gelato was good but more exciting was spotting the largest jade plant we've ever seen! It was at least 5 feet tall and blooming. They must like this arid climate.