I’ll start with a disclaimer. I am not a runner. I never have been and I never will be. And yet I can never quite learn that lesson and so find myself in ridiculous running situations time and time again.
Today’s reminder came in the form of a 10K run right oustide Xela.
The first clue that this whole thing was a bad idea should have been the fact that it involved waking up at 6 in the morning on a Sunday. But I allowed KJ to drag me out of bed, without my usual five to ten minutes of whining. Then, as we were massing for the start of the race, I suddenly realized how woefully unprepared I was for this thing. 40 minutes of a treadmill on a semi-daily basis is not comparable to a 6 mile race. I know, I’m being lame, it’s only 6 miles, but I become decidedly less logical before any kind of competition. Anyway, all of these Guatemalans are stretching and shaking out their limbs and looking otherwise very professional and ready to conquer 10 clicks at 7,655 feet above sea level. This is the part where I started getting jittery and KJ assured me that he was going to start of slow. ”How slow?” “Slow enough for you.” How encouraging.
Within the first three minutes KJ started to pull away and I found myself wondering “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!?” Woof. These thoughts continued for an indeterminable amount of time, because whenever I’m running, time becomes indeterminable. But eventually I hit what some kind observers might have called a ‘stride’ or ‘pace’ and was able to take in my surroundings.
“oh hey Mayan woman clapping for me”
“oh hey 6 year old Guatemalan child running next to me/sprinting by me”
It’s like the whole town came out to cheer us on, some even tried English, which I though was very kind. And have you ever run through a Sunday market or a First Communion? Neither had I, but it’s pretty cool.
Also, the four of us were the only white people at this whole race. And apparently, Gringos in random 10K races = celebrities. KJ and Karen gave interviews in front of a crowd that was intensely interested in our struggle to overcome our lack of oxygen. They then gave all of us a rousing round of applause. Pity? Maybe. Or maybe the people here are just super nice. As a side note, they even tried to interview me. I attempted to explain in my broken Spanish that I was indeed not fit for an interview, but the man with the mic was undeterred. After getting past delivering my name, I became rather lost in the interview, but thankfully Karen was there to save me.
All the high-fives and mangled English congratulations made me forget all of the pre/beginning of race apprehensions. Maybe I can handle this running this after all… In this delusional state I allowed myself to be convinced by an ever enthusiastic KJ to run a half-marathon in Antigua next weekend. We’ll see how that goes