Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Subir a la Meta

About a month ago, I heard about a 10K trail race in October here in Guatemala, and I thought to myself, “I should sign up.  It will give me something to train for and help me get back into a running routine.”  Three weeks later, it was time to actually sign up for the race, and though I’d done some running, I definitely hadn’t trained.

And then Amy decided we should sign up not only for the 10K on the 6th, but also the 16K on the 13th.  And I shrugged and agreed. 

Last week’s race was difficult.  The uphill stretches winded me, and there was a point I felt it was the hardest race I’d ever run.  I finished it much slower than any of my previous 10K times.  (And yet, somehow I ended up taking 4th place in women’s overall rankings?)  It made me feel a little better to discover after the race that our “10K” had actually been closer to 12 kilometers, putting my pace closer to a normal training run rate, and coupled with the fact that I was running at elevation and hadn’t trained, I didn’t feel too badly about it.

But this week’s race?  The course was a monster.  A beast to be reckoned with.  And TOTALLY intimidating. 

Carrie shared the route map the night before the event.  This is what it looks like.



Now, take a look at the elevation map at the bottom.  That course climbs almost 1000 meters.  That’s a KILOMETER!  That’s over half a mile—straight up!  Let’s put this into perspective.  The San Blas half marathon, which I always thought was crazy difficult, only climbs 175 meters.  Day 2 of the Inca Trail in Peru, we climbed 1200 meters in about 5 hours (wearing 25 pound packs and with several rest breaks along the way). 

Just looking at the map had me FREAKED OUT. 
And then we got to the start of the race, and the guy who was previewing the race over a megaphone before the start told us, “After the first 2km, there’s a water station.  Then the route begins to climb, and keeps climbing for the next 4km.  Now, you won’t run on this climb.  You’ll walk.” 
It’s a race.  Who’s he to tell me I’m going to walk it? 

But he was right.  I walked.  As did everyone around me.
Do you know what a 43% elevation grade looks like? 
It is halfway to straight up and down. 
It’s STEEP.  And this hill didn’t seem to stop ever. 

The top of one of the not-so-steep hills

Somehow, I pulled myself up the repeated climbs and managed not to completely biff it as I attempted to make up some time on the flat/downhill spots.  As I came upon one other racer on our last super steep hill, he looked to me and said, “This is torture.  It’s not a race.”

And I kind of agree.  Maybe torture is a strong word.  But I certainly walked more than I ran, and I was way more concerned with finishing the beast than I was with my finish time.

The good news?  I finished it.  No injuries.

I guess that’s a pretty good feeling.  

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