Training in Paraguay

I wrote a bit about my trip to Paraguay last week, and today I want to talk about my running down there. I was surprisingly pretty consistent…and running in the mornings! :-O If you’ve read here for a bit, you know I am NOT a morning person and do not run in the AM haha. 

I got to Paraguay on Friday, April 3, but obviously after a 9 hour overnight flight I was not about to go for a run. How does anyone sleep on overnight flights?? I wish I could afford the tickets for first class, where you get a semi-bed:

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 9.15.04 AMPhoto Source

Wouldn’t that be nice?? I’m pretty sure those seats are over $5,000.00 though.

Anyway, back to running…

Saturday morning I went to the main park in Asuncion, Paraguay, which is a 5K loop. I went with my mom and met up with my aunt, uncle and grandma. It was rainy, so I was surprised when they still decided to meet me! My uncle ran with my mom and me, and my aunt and grandma walked a loop.

Since it was in the 80s, the rain actually felt nice. I don’t mind running in the rain when it’s hot…though the humidity sucked. Since I have been running inside all winter, being in 80 degree weather plus anywhere from 60-90% humidity was a shock to the system. So I didn’t even wear a watch and just ran by feel.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

That day I just ran one loop (5K). Each day I made sure to run in the mornings because afternoons and evenings were filled with either visiting family members or going out places with my grandma and aunt (dinner, bowling, shopping, etc.). I would wake up around 7:30 AM and start running probably around 8:30. I don’t know why it was easier to wake up and run while on vacation than it is here at home…shouldn’t it be the opposite? ;)

On Sunday (Easter), I met up with my aunt and uncle again at the same park. This time it was 80s again and 96% humidity!! Tough. We ended up breaking the run up into sections…running the first mile, then running 400 meters, walking 100 meters, repeat. We ran about 4 miles that day. 


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

On Monday, we went back to the park again, and ran about 5 miles. Filmed this quick video with exercises you can do at a park…all you need is a bench! I like using benches for step-ups after runs to get in a little strength workout:


A video posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

That day would end up being my mom’s last run for the whole trip. She was feeling a bit frazzled scheduling everything between running, visiting family, etc. so she decided to just take a break. I took off Tuesday, Wednesday we were SUPPOSED to run 9 miles but I woke up with a crazy stomach ache, so took off again.

Then Thursday-Saturday I ran at another park that my aunt and uncle introduced me to. I loved it! Although it was only a 1,500 meter loop, it was shaded and had some hills, so it provided a change of pace. I ran 5 loops each day, and we walked 1 mile there and 1 mile back home so about 6-7 miles total for the day.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Sunday was my great grandmother’s 90th birthday party so I did not run…plus it was the hottest day of my trip…96 degrees!

Monday I ran at a local soccer field because I had no one to drive me to the park. I ended up doing a speed workout. Approximately 3.5 miles with something similar to 400 meter repeats. Again, ran watchless. And Tuesday we flew back. 

The Thursday we got back we ran 8 miles, with 2×2 mile repeats in the middle. Felt pretty good! We are running the Long Branch Half Marathon on Sunday so we’ll see how it goes! I know we won’t PR, and our longest run has only been 8 miles, so I’m not expecting anything. It will be my first race with my mom where we are just running by feel and running for fun. 

I think, since I am not trying to PR or anything, I want to try a run/walk method. According to several websites and calculators (too lazy to look up links right now), I need to run for 4 minutes and walk 1 minute to average around 9 min./mile. If I want to run 9:40/mile, I need to run the 4 minutes in 8:40ish pace…can I do that?? I have no idea. But I want to try.

During the time I was in Paraguay, I ran about 19-20 miles in a week. I’ll take it! I ran about 20 miles per week consistently for about 4 weeks I think. So I know I can run this half, but we’ll see what the final result is!

Anyone else running the Long Branch Half/NJ Marathon?

Has anyone tried the run/walk method?


Follow Reach Your Peak:


My Trip To Paraguay

It has been good to be back home and back in the US…but I also miss being with family. I traveled to Paraguay and was there for 10 days. I went with my mom for my great-grandmother’s (my mom’s grandmother) 90th birthday. We planned a big party for April 12 (her birthday is April 13th), and it was great. About 50-60 people showed up to celebrate with her! Here I am with her, my aunt, grandma and mom:

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 10.34.48 AM

I spent half the time at my aunt’s house, and half the time at my other grandma’s house. I tried to run most days, but I’ll get into that in another post.

So what did I do there? I went shopping at their malls, went to a soccer game, went out to eat, had family parties/reunions, and more. 


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Although being back in the US is great, it is hard (especially for my parents) to have all of our family back in Paraguay. If you have your family here in the US and are able to see them regularly, don’t take it for granted!

But I am so glad my parents took the leap 26 years ago and moved to New Jersey. I can’t imagine my life any other way, and traveling to other countries really does make you see how lucky you are and the simple things you might be taking for granted.

Saying goodbye is always hard. My uncle, aunt, grandma and cousins came to the airport to see us off. 


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Overall an amazing trip. We are planning on heading back in June 2016 and doing what we did last summer for the World Cup…heading to Paraguay, flying to Rio for some Olympics action, heading back to Paraguay, flying back to the US. I really hope that all works out! I want to see some track and field live!

We’ll see how things work out in the future. 


Follow Reach Your Peak:


Things I Learned In South America

I’m back in the USA!! I can’t explain how good it felt to be flying into JFK after 3 weeks away from home. While I love visiting family in Paraguay, 3 weeks is a long time to be away from your bed and pets! :) I was homesick towards the end and more than ready to come home.

I am grateful that my family got to go away for 3 weeks, and visit Rio De Janeiro while we were down there. It was all an amazing experience and I really want to go back to Rio…2016 Olympics anyone?

Before I get into a few things I learned about South America, I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip:

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background



Dinner in Copacabana…if you’re ever there check out Boteco Da Garrafa!


FIFA Fan Fest on the beach in Copacabana for the Brazil vs. Colombia game


Cousins in Paraguay :)

I’ll be posting all of my pictures in a Facebook album, so for those who want to see travel pics, I’ll link to it once I do.

Okay so here’s what I learned while on my trip about South America:

  • Ordering a coffee to them automatically means coffee with heated up milk (cafe con leche). Even when someone makes coffee for you in their home they heat up milk on the stove top to add to the coffee. I usually just add cold milk so my coffee isn’t too hot.
  • When saying hi and bye you need to kiss everyone on both cheeks…which makes for very long hellos and goodbyes.
  • Most younger people address older people by Tio or Tia (aunt or uncle) even if they aren’t related at all. This was weird for me because I would call someone by their name but my parents would insist I call them Tio or Tia.
  • In South America (except Chile from what I noticed in the airport), you don’t throw toilet paper in the toilet. You throw it into the garbage can next to the toilet. I’m sorry but I could not adjust to this! No clue why they do it like this…does not seem sanitary at all.
  • People in Rio are very nice and everyone says Bom Dia to you (good morning) as they pass you. They didn’t care that their city was overrun with tourists, they were still nice!

And the main thing I learned?

That I am grateful that my parents emigrated to the United States when I was 1. Going to another country, especially a third world country, makes you realize all the opportunities you have.

I realize the sacrifices my parents made by leaving their entire family and friends behind in Paraguay, and coming to the US to try to build a better life. Who knows where we would be had they not done that. They have some crazy stories from their earlier time here, which I’ll have to share at some point, because it really puts things into perspective.

Anyway, I’m happy to be back and am excited to get back to blogging and reading your posts as well!

Have you gone away for an extended period of time? Did you get homesick?

Are you going away this summer?


Follow Reach Your Peak:



Vacation Updates

We made it safely to South America and today is Day 3. So far we are having fun and enjoying being with family! Our country is Paraguay, which is right in the middle of South America…sadly, no beaches =( Which is okay for now since it is winter time down here.

I thought I wouldn’t miss the heat of summer, but yesterday was pretty cold and rainy, and I was Skyping with Dan who told me it was sunny and in the 90s…jealous!

I thought of starting a travel blog site on Tumblr or something to document my journeys but it’d take too much work haha. I will post occasional updates here while I’m away for 3 weeks…and I also have some great guest posts by my running coach Marc Pelerin! So keep stopping by!

Here are a few pictures of our trip so far:


The above picture is me and my sister with two of our cousins.


Another group picture. I want to add more but WiFi is slow so I’m not able to send myself pictures from my phone and then post here…but I’ll try in another post!

We are staying with my aunt who has a little farm. So I’ve been being woken up by multiple roosters, who start crowing at 4 am! The first night I woke up and thought, “What is that??” But I guess it’s good to have a natural alarm clock right? ;)

I’ll post more later this week – just wanted to check in. Make sure to stay tuned for some great guest posts!


Follow Reach Your Peak: