Last summer Steve got the bug to run the Boston Marathon and asked if I had interest in joining him in August at a qualifying race in Santa Rosa, CA. Of course I was interested and if he was going to run the Marathon - I would run the 1/2 Marathon in Santa Rosa the same day. After all the great "at altitude" training we were doing - surely it would be a walk, or run, in the park on race day. And so the training began...
I entered a 10k (6.1 mile) race half way through my training to find my "race legs" again - it had been 6 years since either of us had entered a race. This race was held in the heart of Mexico City and started at the Angel of Independence - the iconic image of Mexico City and also ran past many of the city's historic treasures. It was quite fantastic - I highly recommend! With an early 6 a.m. start, I figured finishing a race by 7 a.m. would not be a bad start to a Saturday.
|The beautiful Angel at the start line...|
Now I must come clean, the reeaaaal reason I entered the race was to get the t-shirt. Everyone who has run in any sort of race knows you typically get a commemorative race t-shirt the day before the race at packet pick-up along with your bib number and racing chip. Let's be honest, these shirts can be very hit or miss from a design standpoint. Some look as if they were designed in the dark and are down right ugly - my beige shirt with a hand drawn stick figure from the Sweetwater 5K comes to mind.
But in Mexico City, race t-shirts are a piece of running gear to behold. All are made with microfiber wicking technology in cool colors and great design - something you'd be proud to take home to your mother, and wear again and again.
Here's the rub...and it's a fairly sweet rub, at that. In the US, most racers subscribe to the notion that it's bad luck to wear the race t-shirt during the race. If you're wearing the shirt and you fall and break an ankle and cannot finish - you technically can't wear the shirt ever again, because you didn't officially finish the race. And, well, it's just generally bad luck and often not a good idea to wear something brand new on race day. Side note: if you have fallen victim to this fashion felony - carry on - I'm sure many reading this have proven this theory wrong. I happen to fall into the "don't jinx yourself" category as I need all the help I can get on race day.
So here I am at the start line of the race and one of these things is not like the others. It's me...not wearing the darn shirt! Mexicans clearly feel differently about the race day t-shirt wearing debate.
It's often comforting to make small talk with at least one person standing near you at the start line - it eases the tension and is a good way to pass the time while waiting for the start gun to go off. So I struck up a conversation with a very nice Mexican young man standing next to me who quickly realized I was a native English speaker. He was overjoyed with this perfect opportunity to practice his English - and practice he did! I was generally happy to oblige and so we chatted for a few minutes in very broken English and Spanish. All was good - I was learning a few new phrases in Español at 5:59 a.m. The gun went off and I turned my focus to the personal record I was hoping to run. But then I realized as we started to run - this guy was still interested in carrying on a full conversation... "Where are you from?", "What brought you to Mexico City?", "Would you like a PowerBar?"...on and on. I'm all up practicing my Spanish, and heaven knows I need it, but Dude! We're racing!!! I decided to quickly make my move, smiled and shouted a hearty "buena suerte!! then dove head first into the sea of orange...
|Received a bonus t-shirt at the finish line!!|