It’s always worth giving a serious challenge a practice run or two before you tackle the real thing. Today, in the run up to my marathon attempt in the Mexico City International Marathon in September, I took on a half marathon, organised by Emocion Deportiva, along with one of my students, his wife and his cousin. And out of more than 11,000 competitors, I won!!! The 20 a day smokers event….probably. This wasn’t an official category, but I didn’t notice anyone else puffing as part of their warm up. So I am claiming victory until someone can prove me wrong. Including the non smokers…I didn’t win.
Things didn’t start so well to my day though. Firstly, I arrived at Taxquena bus station to catch a microbus to the starting point, only to discover that the buses don’t start running till 7am, which would have made me a bit too late to run. As luck would have it though, a single bus turned up with an eager beaver driver, and it turned out to be my bus. Then, having gotten to Perisur, I dared to venture inside a portaloo. I wasn’t the first to make use of it. Probably not the second, or third either. Both in sight and smell, it was an horrific experience, something so stomach churning I suddenly didn’t feel like running. I did, of course, but I held my bladder in place till I got home. A repeat of that visual and aromatic feast wasn’t wanted.
It’s pretty hard work running 21 kms, especially when the last 11 kms are all uphill. It’s just a slope, but it hurts! Probably explains why my first 10 km time was about an hour, and the second took an hour and a quarter. My injury prone ankle held up which was nice. My gammy knee didn’t fare quite so well. I’ll be hobbling for a few days I suspect. But I kept going and managed to cross the line in an official time of 2 hours 23 minutes and 10 seconds. Which, for a heavy smoking half marathon virgin, is perfectly respectable. I know I could get under 2 hours, if I could just quit the Marlboro Azuls for long enough. Next time…
I have to say the event provided jolly good value too. The entry fee was 255 pesos (US$20 -ish/GBP 11.60) and for that, as well as a number, an electronic timing chip and permission to participate, you get a fairly decent Adidas running top, plenty of water and gatorade along the route, a dozen Mariachi bands along the route and a rather hefty medal and a Recuperation Pack (apple, banana, more water and Gatorade) at the end.
Hats off to Emocion Depotiva for a brilliantly organised event, and socks off for me….I’m knackered and going to relax some. I’ve posted a few more images over on my Mexico City Marathon blog.