Annette picked Carrie and I up at 6:15am this morning. The plan was for her to drop me off to run the half marathon, and then she and Carrie would wait for me at the finish line.
The Max Tott Half Marathon is the oldest race in Guatemala, I think. This year was the 78th edition. The race starts in Zone 1 of the city, then winds through Zone 5 and up into Zone 16, passing through my home turf as it then cuts down onto Blvd. Vista Hermosa in Zone 15, past Campo Marte, and along 10 Avenida to end at a stadium back in Zone 5. Unlike the Guatemala City Half Marathon held at the end of August, this route is anything but flat. The race includes two serious climbs and a handful of smaller ones with a total elevation gain of 1000ft.
|The route (and my pace, if you're curious).|
I had been training well, but the last two weeks just hadn’t felt the greatest. I told Carrie and Annette on the ride there that I was not really nervous, but I had a feeling as if the race wasn’t going to go all that well.
Apparently I shouldn’t have worried. I ran the first mile in well under 8 minutes (previously unheard of for me) and didn’t actually slow down to anywhere close to my “normal” pace until the first big hill around mile 5.
|Start of the race. Photo by Carrie Renaud.|
As I cruised past Paseo Cayala in Zone 16, where many of my friends live who had planned to come out and support me, I realized I was passing almost half an hour earlier than the time I’d told them to expect me. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see any familiar faces.
At 11K, I looked down and realized I’d been running for 58 minutes. If I could keep up the pace, even slow down a bit, I could realize my goal of 2 hours easily.
Miles 8 and 9 included the biggest climb of the day, and I had to consciously push myself to stay under a 10 minute mile. When I crested the hill, though, I sailed down miles 10 and 11, and the realization that not only would I finish in 2 hours, but under, made me want to cry from happiness.
After one more small hill, the last mile was all flat or downhill, and I coasted mile 13 at a 8:36 mile pace. I came across the finish line feeling strong and extremely proud of myself.
|The final stretch. (That's me in the tie dye).|
|Crossing the finish line.|
Photo by Carrie.
After a quick stretch, I picked up my finisher medal and some water and went to meet Annette and Carrie. They’d seen my finish from high seats in the stadium and congratulated me on my run. They also let me know that everyone was wondering where I’d been since no one had seen me. Jen had been out to cheer, Joel had waited nearly half an hour, Kenra had texted to find out what time I would be passing by…and there I was, passing all of those spots before any of them got there. We laughed, I texted everyone to meet me for breakfast, and we enjoyed a hearty meal under bright blue skies to cap off the morning.
Goal met. Amazing day.