February 1, 2017

Running a 10K Through the Heart of Mexico City

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!!


3 comments:

  1. Ha! As if you don't already stand out!

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  2. Catching up on all my 'Who Moved My,....' posts and am still laughing at this one. The pic of you in your non-neon Orange couldn't have been staged any better. And then the cherry on the sundae, "Dude! We're racing!". Priceless.
    Melissa

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