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I Came, I Ran, I Finished...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's official y'all! I'm a RUNNER! I ran my first 10k on the 25th of July and

a)ran the whole way,
b)didn't even come in last, and
c)didn't perish in the process!

I was kind of nervous before the race - would I make it the whole way without walking? Would it be so hot that I'd really start suffering and have to stop? Would any body parts go on strike before I reached the finish line? Would I need to pee so bad that I'd have to "pull over?" How the hell far was 10k anyway? I'd only ever really run a max of 8k before and my hip was totally against going that distance, so all I could do was keep my fingers crossed.

The race started nicely - I used my iPod for the first time ever, and just as we left the starting line, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a guy said "You're an English teacher at the Franklin School, right?" That made me feel good, got me smiling, always a good thing when you have a challenge ahead of you!

The course would be 5km down to the end of the cruise ship dock in Progreso, Yucatan, and 5km back. I'd seen the dock from the shore, but distances from a distance don't look quite as distant! As soon as I reached the first building along the way and began to cut left towards the end of the dock, I realized how freaking far 10km really was. Yowsers! The course was in full sunlight and on black asphalt, there wasn't much breeze to speak of, and the temps were already in the low 90s by 7am, so I was ready for water at km 2.5. Drank a bit, then as I was hitting km 3, there was a girl who was obviously in distress (she was taken away in an ambulance eventually), being attended to by her friend. I ran by and handed the girls my water since I figured they needed it more than me right then, and I'd get more in a while, right? WRONG! The water ran out early, so at km 5 I was parched and (now don't get grossed out) was picking up used gnarly bags of water off the ground, biting off a new corner, and drinking the few drops that were left. THAT'S how bad I wanted to finish this damn race. I was NOT going to get dehydrated and have to stop. Out...of...the...question...

At km 7 I felt sure they would have water, since we slowpokes got screwed at km 5. Again, WRONG! So after a few choice words, I kept running, hoping that all these months of super-hydrating would pay off. I just stayed focused and flipped to a song that gave me a nice smooth rhythm and went for the gold! The sweetest little old man, who was also running, ran up beside me and handed me his bottle of water to take a few sips from. What a lifesaver! That gentleman earned some major karma points on Sunday.

When I saw the 8km flash by and realized that I still felt like a million bucks, I knew I would make it! I was already laughing out loud by then, and I finally turned around to see if there was anyone behind me. Wow! There were LOTS of people behind me! Shocking! I had been certain I'd be the last one in.

All my friends - Daniel, Frank, Marco, and Rafael were there waiting for me at the finish line! They were cheering and shouting for me since they knew it was the first 10k I'd ever run. I felt like I had just won a gold medal in the Olympics or something! It was an unbelievable feeling and when my feet went over the line I knew that I could officially consider myself a runner, albeit a slow and somewhat pudgy one and definitely a badly-outfitted one, and that a 1/2 marathon and eventually a marathon are definitely within reach for me! Amazing... My buddy Marco even gave me his medal, since they were already out by the time I came in. He knew how important it was for me, this incredible day, and I felt so special that he was kind enough to give me his. Of course, this is a guy who's run 11 marathons, and has bazillions of medals, but still. I love him for it!

Now that I understand how long a 10k is when you're running it, I am totally in awe of these dudes and dudettes who run it in 36, 41, 45 minutes. My friends are all sub-50 minute 10k-ers, so I've really got some work to do!

I'm still smiling, and the confidence in my running potential that I gained that Sunday are priceless for me. Since the race, I have upped myweekly long run to 12k and am adding a km each week. On October 4th, I'll be running a 16k from the base of the incredible Mayan Ruins of Uxmal to a small pueblo called Muna. I've started some serious training for the 1/2 marathon in Cancun in December - intervals, speedwork, fartleks (MAN I love that word), all that jazz. I'm looking at the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas as well, in February 2011, as possibly my first marathon.Whooda thunk??!!

And guess what? Probably the funniest part: I went to the website with all the pictures posted, and all the other race information for our area, and guess who was on the front of the webpage after the race?! Yours truly! Until last week's race, I was up there for everyone to see and/or make fun of! The gringa waving something green and dancing over the finish line like the total and complete wackadoodle that she is :-)

Oh, and did I mention that I got asked out on a date? By whom, you ask? Well, by Marco, the guy who gave me his medal!

Miracles never cease...

Aerial view of the start of the race

Me actually arriving (Courtesy Rafa Ocampo y Fondo Yucateco)

Time: 1:22:51 - a PR :-)

My lovely medal
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