(The following I have just posted to my “Life Event” category on facebook. I hope and believe I’ll have a less narrative and more reflective post at some point. However, right now I am totally exhausted but wanted to let you fine-followers and supporters hear a little update!)
The basic stats:
Time: 1:54 m
Position in mixed race: 1012 out of 2423
Average minutes per km: 5:27
minutes per mile: 8.7
About 5 weeks ago I got serious about a long-term idea I’d had: I wanted to run a half-marathon. Lucky for me the Medellin half-marathon was 5 weeks away! I decided to dedicate the run to the work of my church with the victim’s group in la Ceja and got a few dear friends and family to sponsor the run.
Jaime, my faithful friend here, started training with me. About three weeks in we felt great. At four weeks we did some math and realized we were running TOO SLOW! To make a long story short, Jaime accidentally got signed up for the 10k and I was left on my lonesome. Thank goodness Oscar offered to spend the night and wake up with me at 5am to walk with me to the starting line (about a 20min walk) even though he was already covering teaching sunday school for me!
The line for the porter potty was long. I was nervous and felt like I hadn’t trained nearly enough. My comfort lay in the playlist I’d spent the entire day before the race compiling (thanks to some helpful suggestion by friends). At 7am 2423 people and I started running. “Kids” was my opening song, followed by “Don’t stop me now” by Queen. The first mile wasn’t too hard, but pretty much everyone after that was. I was determined to push myself and not let my legs take their own lazy course. By km 10 I was tired but feeling good. Then a logistical fail seriously dampened the next 6 km or so: no water stations! The lack of water in and of itself was rough, but what made it worst were the 2 or 3 men in my pack of men (after the 10th km I was almost exclusively surrounded by men) who angrily shouted “thieves!” “sons of *****” and such things at any logistics person at the side of the road…my feeling is 1) if there’s no water station now, there won’t be one because you yell 2) save your breath and also don’t ruin the atmosphere 3) that volunteer at the side of the road probably isn’t responsible for this oversight.
What lifted my spirit, though, was seeing how the few people who ran to the side of the road to buy bags of water were prompt to share; there was a great sense of solidarity in that. Also, I got energy from encouraging people in the last 4 km when I actually passed a few people. I feel strongly non-competitive in that sense. It didn’t bother me that people passed me, nor that I passed people, mostly it was important the spirit in which they or I did it.
The turn marked “18km” was beautiful to see. Those last 3km were also SO long! Regardless, I tried to lengthen my stride, I told a man who started walking we were almost there, and I don’t even remember on what song I ended on. When I stopped running after my final sprint my legs were shaking and I was desperate for water and air.
I have to say, it was a far more sober sense of achievement ending, knowing no one was there to see you come in, no one to celebrate with directly afterwards ( I compare this to finishing triathlons in Israel/Palestine and it’s a sort of drab image) but you know who, it’s just nice to stop. And it’s truly rewarding to say that I finished in under 2h, when I thought I might end up taking way more time.
In any case, did it. Done. Not running for a month (possibly not walking tomorrow). The sponsorship will for sure help the social ministry of the church, and I can now say I’ve run 21km in Medellin in less than 2h!
Thank you everyone that made this possible– those who supported economically and especially Jaime Zamora for the company in training, Oscar for the day-of accompaniment and photography, and my lovely supportive parents (and that guy that gave me some water at km 14 when I was at rope’s end)