Monday, January 25, 2010

One Tequila, Two...

I decided to run this race because it seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit the town… and at roughly $20 the entry fee, it was a bargain.

I flew into GDL a couple of days before the race. My brother was kind enough to pick me up and we headed directly to buy churros-con-cajeta from a street vendor. Oh the memories of a long, lost childhood. Then he took me to a couple of liquor stores (as I have been in the hunt for rare and/or discontinued tequila). Found one bottle of Casa Noble Gold… Alas, it was corked; it tasted like water with wood cuttings. Nasty.

The following day I asked my brother to take me to pick up my bib. I had asked him if he knew how to get to the host hotel; and my brother, who does not shy away from a challenge, quickly said yes. We got lost. We were in the right general area but made three circles in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I was all stressed out after almost an hour of maddening traffic. Finally we made it there. Picked up bib and headed to have something to eat..

Race day comes and I am ready by 6:30AM. I had figured it would take us approximately one hour to make it to the start from my brother’s house (about a mile south of Tlaquepaque). My brother’s phone rings… it’s my nephew… brother agrees to pick him up so that he can join us… hmmm, not liking this at all… we’re pressed for time. After getting lost, yet again, we finally connect with my nephew. It is now 7:10AM. Not looking good. Surprisingly, I am not stressing.

My brother drives like a maniac for the next 45 or so minutes and make it to the edge of town where the Police had blocked the road. I look at my watch and it is 7:56... I start running towards the start (about .75 miles from where we parked) hoping that the race will start late… nope, about 400 from the start I see a whole bunch of people exploding towards me. Now, I was running on the sidewalk so I was not in their way. I run around the barricades and cross the mats just over two minutes after the gun. Some other late comers were trickling in as well, but I can safely state that I was one of the last to start the race.

I quickly started passing slower runners. My breathing is not where I wanted it to be at this time; it is labored; is it because of the ~4000 foot elevation? Or just me who is in denial at losing so much fitness. To put things in perspective, I ran a 1:31:03 in January ‘09... Then I had the abysmal 1:47 half at the Nike Women’s Half in October. A month later and I was adamant about running what I thought was a realistic time, or a sub-1:40. I ended up running the first km on pace. I managed to continue the race effort up to the third km where the climbs began. My lungs began to burn; my legs did not complain so much. I slowed down to 8:20 mpm pace. I do not worry. Much. I think I will get the time lost back on the impending downhill stretch. The climb seem to be never ending. Finally a descent is on my view.

All through these climbs we have been running on an access dirt road, with fields of agave to our left and to our right. The smell of the leftover agave fiber/mulch used to fertilize the fields is quite pungent; so pungently potent that I mistake it for black water. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the sights and smells.

After what seemed like a rather short descent, we start climbing again. Damn. Finally, just after km 9, we turn right into a paved road and a screaming descent begins. I thrive on down hills and start passing quite a few runners including a group of triathletes who had passed me on the climb. I running about 7mpm; I am getting the runner’s high.

Then I see an upcoming hill. Damn. When I start climbing it, my legs begin to feel like jello and my lungs once again burn. I ease up on the effort as I still have more than 7kms to go. The tri-athletes pass me like if I was just standing there. I do not respond. The downhill continues but I can not get my feet to turn over fast enough. I am struggling. I see my brother and nephew. My brother screams words of encouragement… in English… and I give him the finger for I felt he was mocking me. Five more Ks to go… I should be able to finish strong.

Not today. I can barely keep pace with two masters women. The kilometers seem to be longer and longer. My mind is totally in disarray. I want to walk so badly. Negative thoughts cross my mind as if the end of the world was nearing. It took enormous amounts of will to NOT walk. I knew I would finish. After what seemed to be an eternity the finish line was in sight. I gunned it with whatever reserve I had and crossed in 1:43:XX… felling like crap.

I had to stop for about 15 minutes inside the chute to recover. Then after exiting the chute, it took me about an hour to feel back to normal.

My only guess is that I was dehydrated by 10 miles even though I hydrated well during the race.


Arcane said...

A little too much tequila maybe?

Quinto Sol said...

Nuh, I have long discarded that notion. I have a feeling that my iron levels were low; that seems to be the only plausible explanation for my horrific experience at the Nike Women's half. I started taking an iron supplement in mid December and my "fitness" seems to be coming back. I just need to be careful with my left knee, and PF .

Mindi said...

Yuck. I had a really bad half in November - actually threw in the towel and walked a lot (finished at 2:05 or something). No fun. Whatever it was, I hope you feel back to normal soon. Where was the race? What a stressful way to start!!

Quinto Sol said...

Mindi- The half took place in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico... worse than that race was my 1:47 at the Nike half Marathon where I walked for several stretches; not pleasant.

I think the iron supplements have done the trick... at the very least they are helping with the placebo effect :-)

I just ran a flat half early this month in 1:33:22, closer to what I expected to run (sub-1:35).