Thursday, June 5, 2008

A party after the Fiestas Mayas race

I had one of those fabulous running days the other day – you know, the ones you think of when someone asks you, why do you run?

Last Sunday, I ran the Fiestas Mayas 10k, which is considered a “classic” around here. It was the 34th annual running of the event, with about 5000 participants either running the 10k or the 3k that was also offered. I call these types of races “of course” races - when you ask someone if they are going to run it, the answer is always “of course”. There were loads of people, loads of spectators, and nearly as many photographers and people filming the race as there were participants, which made it all the more exciting. (If anyone is considering traveling to Buenos Aires for a “running vacation” this race would definitely be one of my top choices.)

Personally, I was feeling a little bit nervous about racing. I had anemia last year, and I had been working with my doctor on fixing that. I hadn’t run a 10k, or, in reality, any other race except a half-marathon a couple of weeks back, since November of last year. Based on my half-marathon time, I had asked to be in the elite category, in order to have a better starting position. I wasn’t sure what time I was capable of running, so I was hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I decided to prepare the best I could, and just hope for a good race.

Race day morning came and I did all the necessary things to get me to the starting line: got up early, hydrated, ate breakfast, got dressed, put Vaseline in all the right places (and then some!), made all the just-in-case trips to the bathroom that seem to always accompany race mornings, and gathered all the things I needed for after the race. I took a bus that dropped me off near the race, and then jogged over to the starting line as part of my warm up. By the time I got there, I was feeling really good, like something good was going to happen, but I wasn’t sure what.

I did some strides to keep myself warm, and then when the time came, I lined up with everyone else and waited for the countdown to start the race. After the crowd yelled “10, 9, 8,….to 0”, we were off.

Almost the entire race, I felt great. I think there were a few things that (luckily) came together that really helped me run the best race I could. My race preparations were definitely beneficial to me and because of that, my legs felt fresh. I had people around my speed to run with, which helped me maintain a pretty even pace. Also, probably the single most important factor that helped me when I needed it was right beside me, there were two guys running together, one guy was blind, and the other acted as his “eyes”. Anytime I wanted to wimp-out, I just looked over them and thought about what the blind runner was overcoming in order to run my same pace.

I finished the race with a time of 38:50, exhausted, tired, but also extremely happy because now I had a new PR.

After enjoying all the congratulating and talking that goes on after a race, I met up with about 30 people from a running group that I recently joined. They usually have a picnic during the awards ceremony, so I went along. I met some new people; we chatted, ate, drank, and in general had a good time. When it was time to go home, I looked down at my watch and realized how early it was.

It wasn’t even 12 noon yet and I was having a picnic with new friends on a beautiful day. I had the satisfaction of trying my hardest at something and on top of that running a PR.

I think I walked around with a big fat grin on my face the rest of the day.


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