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!!


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

  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.


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