Monday, December 24, 2012

Iguazu Falls - 7 Natural Wonders of the World

Time to trot the globe again!  This time, my parents would come along, too!  Work sent me to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  My parents went straight to Buenos Aires, AR, where they toured by themselves before I met up with them later in the week.

Before the trip, I got in a 7.5 mi run at the park in 1:06:12, 8:50 ave. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, at 5:30am (3:30am Eastern!!!), I did bike sessions as the sun rose, and as I listened to Endurance Planet podcasts... nice.  Gives you energy you didn't realize you were missing when you work out.  Not working out makes you blah without you realizing it.

Got to watch some tango on the pedestrian street in the evening:

On Friday, after we got out of work an hour early, I got in a run at my favorite spot in Buenos Aires - the Ecological reserve.  5.8 in 47:10, 8:08 ave.  I pushed the pace, so that I could cover as much ground as possible before the park closed.  It was 85 degrees, but it felt cooler than that, since it was cloudy.

On Saturday, the fam was off to Iguazu Falls, one of the new 7 wonders of the world.  One of my bucket list items has been to re-visit Niagara Falls.  Many of my co-workers had independently been to Iguazu before, though, and one of the pictures that was shared with me was breath-taking.  I had been wanting to go for a while, but timing and the workload of the trip was always difficult to get right.  It worked out this time, though, since this was a more relaxed trip.

The falls are close to the triple border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.  Here's a shot of the frontier:

We spent 2 days on the Argentina side of the falls, and I spent the third day doing a tour of Brazil + Paraguay.  Travel tip: No need to bother with the Brazil side... the number and quality of the views from the Argentina side outnumber those of Brazil by 50:1, and you won't have to worry about getting a Brazillian visa.

(The Throat of the Devil, from above, from the AR side)

(The Throat of the Devil, from below/downstream, from the BR side)

There were lots of animals, too, like lizards, butterflies, catfish, birds, mole-looking things, and coatis (like a half-racoon / half-anteater).

We also did a speedboat ride that took you under the waterfall!

It was pretty amazing... there were about 4 different trails that took you to the Throat of the Devil (the main attraction), a view of the bulk of the falls from above, a view of the falls from below, and a view from the island in the middle of it all.  The whole day, you'd see one view after another, and each view would be better than the next, even though you wouldn't think that it would be possible after seeing the previous view.  Lots of rainbows, too.

Got back to the States on Wednesday, mid-day.  I had left Iguazu on Tuesday morning, so it was a long day of travel.  Got in a treadmill run that night.  6 mi in 48:26, 8:04 ave.  Started at 1 degree, did 4 mi at 3 degrees, ended at 5 degrees.  Knee did better.  Oh man, during the trip, I loved not running and not feeling pressured to run.  It was a good thing for my body, post-marathon, and especially for the knee. 

Thursday, woke after 3.5 hrs of sleep to prepare another presentation that I had to give.  Gave it, and then I considered myself more or less done for the year.  Still had to work a couple more days, but the big stuff was over. 

Friday, 6.0 in 49:33, 8:15 ave pace, alternating between 1 degree and 3 degrees.  I've been liking running on more incline than normal, since it reduces the forces on your legs when you land.

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