Here is a confession: I hate working out. If I could get away with sitting on my lazy butt all day, I pretty much would. I enjoy walking, but only in the sense of the paseo, a very Spanish tradition of strolling slowly and watching the world. I love horseback riding, but any health benefits (while appreciated) are somewhat beside the point.
That being said, I’m also a pretty vain person – I blame it on my age, but that might just be a convenient excuse. And in a country where social lives revolve so gloriously around copious amounts of high-calorie alcohol and gorgeous food, this vain 20-something’s thoughts turn straight to her figure.
I initially thought working out a few days a week would feel like a sacrifice. After all, there’s so much to do here, and a solid five-mile run ends up taking more like an hour and a half when you count in prep time, stretching, and showering.
But then I discovered (and I use that term loosely) the river. When things cool off in the evening, the Rio Guadalquivir is by far the best place for people watching in Sevilla. By seven p.m. the Paseo del Rey Juan Carlos I is full of people running, rollerblading, picnicking, drinking, making out…seriously, it’s awesome. On Friday I saw not one, but two weddings going down. Around sunset, the Rio is definitely the place to be.
So I’ve been running. Around 45 minutes at a time, aiming for ten-minute miles. I’ve been hitting around nine miles per week, and as time goes on I’m hoping for 12 or more. Between the people, the stunning sunsets, and the wealth of landmarks along my route, I barely have time to think about how much I hate running (and trust, I hate running). It’s not much, but I like to think that between my paseos rapidos (as I think of my little jaunts) and the three to four hours of walking I get through daily, I’ll be able to fight off tapas-related weight gain.
Or maybe not. But either way, you can find me jogging by the river two or three times a week. I’ll be the one with the wide eyes and the sweaty red face.