Stage 1.15: Málaga – Torre del Mar, Spain

In which I run along an easy road with some nice views, but fail to enjoy it very much at all because my soul is cloudier than the sky.

The road out of Málaga to the east is easygoing, and I am glad of it; I’m really, really not in the mood for this run, today. After a few days over Christmas, getting back into exercise can be challenging at the best of times; add carrying a backpack and the weather being overcast, and this becomes pretty hard. I am probably also still not entirely clear of my whisky, and this joins me as begrudgingly as a kidnapped friend.

The sea comes close to the road, so close the spray blows across. This is a nice thing. I intend to run about 20 km, which is a lot less than my original plan. Just a few kilometres in, I’m glad it’s not my original plan. I tell myself the first 10 km or so will be hardest, and this at least does turn out to be mostly true.
I’ve really enjoyed Málaga, and it’s possible that this contributes to my lack of inspiration for running this stage. I voice that now, because still some time after completing the stage (spoiler alert: I do finish it), I still can’t quite work out what went wrong. I doubt it’s the remainder of the alcohol; it might not be scientifically correct, but it feels like this is sweated out in the first few kilometres. But goodness I don’t feel much like running.
There seem to be a lot of wide, dried-up rivers, in this area. I don’t know why or how, but it feels weird to run across bridges built across dirt.
The path takes a direct route through the rock, and I run through a couple of longish tunnels. I enjoy the unusualness of this.
I find it challenging to take particularly impressive photos, because it’s so overcast. The area I run through is quiet, and for some reason this bothers me. This is, perhaps, another reason for my lack of peace of mind today: although I usually don’t mind running for even hours completely alone, in contrast to the city, I want there to be people around. There are some walkers, cyclists, and runners, so I suppose it isn’t actually that quiet. Again, probably the main problem here is me…
The route remains easy. I opt for keeping to the road, rather than take any diversions. I like how the sea is washing up along the beach.
I like the ingenuity of layered housing like this. It’s nice that all of those at the front have their own areas for a morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. If it seems like I’m becoming diverted, it’s because I’m still not having a particularly good run, and I simply can’t work out why. Some days are like that.
The sun comes out briefly, and that’s a least brightening, both metaphorically and literally. I’ve been analysed my state of mind mid-run (as well as afterwards), and objectively, this part is quiet pleasant. If it were a sunny day, I imagine a very pleasant afternoon could be spent with a book on the beach. But I can’t connect to it today. However, given that the day is a little brighter and I am still attempting to analyse my mood, I decide to replan the route live, and extend it by a few kilometres.
The sun gone, I find this stretch of road so extremely depressive, I can’t currently imagine wanting to go back there. I have no idea whether it is actually that bad—but all I can think about it is the lack of anything interesting around, the smell of some kind of sewerage or something, and seemingly the highpoint being a statue of a bull on the hill. This is visible for quite some distance. I can’t work out if it’s supposed to be a pun or not—the place being Torre del Mar, ‘torre’ meaning ‘tower’, but ‘bull’ being ‘toro’—it probably isn’t, but I like the idea of putting a huge pun on a hill.
The rock on which the bull lives is interesting. I know almost nothing about geology, but I like the layers. As I run past, dogs start barking, their barks echoing against the rock. My back’s been twinging a bit, but I make do with some brief breaks and decide it’ll probably be alright. (Spoiler from future self: it turns out I’m very, very wrong about this.)
A sobering approach. There really are quite a lot of flowers, here.
I don’t usually mind no-one being around in the country, but in an urban area, I like there to be people. I find the first few streets eerily-quiet, and feel a bit like I’ve run into a zombie apocalypse.
A little while later, I’m there. Even looking at this photo now as I write this, I know that it’s a lovely view, and a nice place. But it’s simply not mine—not on this visit, at least. If you ever visit Torre del Mar, you might well have a lovely time by the sea; what I’ve seen of the town is pleasant, and there’s plenty of beach of choose from. Just perhaps don’t approach it from the west, running along smelly roads, when it’s overcast and your soul is even cloudier than the sky. :) Checkpoint. 27.4 km (stage) / 381.9 km (total)