My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
The last time I ran a race I was all bandaged up from my first surgery. That was back in February 2014. Because I opted for a second surgery in May 2014 and running races tend to die down during the summer there just hadn’t been much of an opportunity to race. There have also been some politics that have caused a lot of races to move from my local municipality to distant municipalities, making them less convenient for me to get to. Most of the races that used to start about 1 km from my doorstep are now a good 20 minute drive away if traffic is decent.
I have been training for an October 2014 half marathon and it just happened that today was scheduled to be a 12K LSD run. I guess it’s a mini-taper of sorts because next Sunday I am supposed to jump back up to 18K for my LSD run. It also happened that a 10K race was being held in my local municipality on this very day. So today I ran the IOS Offices 10K race as a training race. It started at 7:30 am and the weather was mercifully cooler than it has been for much of the summer in Monterrey. I finished the race in 1:07:10, which is on par with any other 10K race time I have ever had, and definitely okay since I wasn’t training to excel at this particular race. Today I learned some things about races and myself, and I will now share these pearls of wisdom here.
Parking is always an issue for going to races, and I decided to avoid the designated parking because getting into it and out of it involved crossing the race route, which is technically closed to traffic. I knew that wouldn’t be fast or convenient on either end, having run the same race last year. I ended up parking a little over 1 km away, and so one of the things I learned from today’s race is that parking 1 km away and having to walk to the start of the race isn’t a big deal. It’s actually a great way to warm up if you walk briskly, which I did. I suppose it does involve leaving early enough to allow for time to do this, but I was awake at 6 am anyway, so today I had time for the walking.
My race bib included a tear-away ticket for a free glass of beer. I know that some races provide beer at the finish line, though I don’t think I have ever run a race like that. This ticket involved seeking out the provider at the race expo and lining up for the free brew. I didn’t see many people with their bibs ripped, so I started to wonder if the provider hadn’t shown up. Surely if there was free beer to be had most people’s bibs would show the evidence. There was a food truck area at the expo and I thought that the huge line snaking along the sidewalk was to some delicious food truck offerings, but alas, I realized when I walked adjacent to the front of the line that it was for the beer. I asked someone who had just received their beer and taken a sip if it was good and worth lining up for and he enthusiastically nodded yes. I almost got in the line, which had grown substantially since I had first noticed it, and then I opted to walk back to my car instead. Thus, the second thing I learned from today’s race is that I am not so keen on spending a lot of time waiting for a free cup of beer that I could afford to go and quickly buy instead, especially not before 9 am. Why doesn’t someone smart ever proffer a coffee ticket? I might line up for that!
The race itself has a great shirt, and a great cause (cerebral palsy), but not much else going for it. I know that the route has a huge fee for use now, which is why a lot of races are moving away from the area for their next event. It leads me to suspect that the organizers cannot afford a lot of bells and whistles, because there was only one band along the route and not much else. Thus, when many of us entered an underpass shortly after the first kilometer and a few of the enthusiastic souls started shouting Mexican chants and replies it made me smile. I like racing because I like that fun whimsical stuff, and I really did miss the shouts of “Si se puede, güerita,” this time around. I do hope the next race has more fun stuff along the route. That can really push you along even if you are hurting, which I was, starting around km 7. So now I know that even though positivity can make me roll my eyes, I do enjoy a good dose of it at races.