Running Mexico's first Pride race
Recently, in the pursuit to understand those I talk to Peak Pinole too… I’ve stated running! It really started because I enjoyed talking and spending time with ultras. Easy going yet dedicated and committed, with a shared sense of purpose and suffering that creates the kind of bonds that legends are made of.
It was fun and rewarding to chat and hang out with runners… then my mind got blown away when I went to see the Caballo Blanco, in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. Thousands of Tarahumara who run as a culture. And then a couple hundred runners from both near and far had travelled 8 hours in a car to get to the bottom on the canyon to race. More importantly, friends who met every couple of years all over the world, having beers, told stories with big smiles and the next morning, at 6AM, pounded the dirt for 80k under the sun.
I always hated running though. As a slightly chubby adolescent, I focused on swimming. I managed, due to particularly pliable ligaments, to fracture both my ankles and rupture my ACL early in life. I spent a decade taking my frustration out on hitting things with gloves. As I reached my 30s, I developed heel spurs that limited my movements to no more than 10 min of walking at a time, for two years. I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t born a mermaid.
I did not want to run. I did not want to race. Until I did. I’ve been lucky, one of the ultras I knew suggested he train me. So Daz of DazNBone tipped the balance of my resistance by offering to coach me, and get in shape for the next Caballo Blanco (though I am focusing on the marathon for now, we’ll see if I can do 80k the year after). At the beginning of this year though, I took 3 months off running because I had bruised my fat pad in my knee. Bright beginning.
We agreed to try out my legs at a race during a trip in Mexico, a 10k in Mexico City, and the first Pride Race organised in the country. I was thrilled and nervous because Mexico City is at 2300 meters up in altitude. My first run had me coughing my lungs up.
Daz calmed me down and doing regular runs, building up my strength and endurance. I ran around the pyramid in Cholula, a lovely town in the state of Puebla. Around and around I went, at times accompanied by my host’s dogs who gave me exasperated looks at how slow their two legged human was.
For the day of the race, I chose my outfit carefully: tassel mini skirt with a bright orange T-shirt with our logo, Peak Pinole, and a motto for the run: Proud to Run, Run with Pride. I underestimated how cold it would be on a bright July morning at 6AM in the Cricket park of Mexico City.
There were a lot of people with brightly coloured tutus and so so so many dogs (note to self: adopt a dog when I move to Mexico). I was at the back of the pack, as I arrived fashionably late. Daz had advised me to run at a steady pace and when half way through, if I felt gas in the tank, step on it. He emphasised: ‘enjoy yourself’. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feel my feet or hands during the first loop around the park (note to self 2: bring gloves), but I was steadily gaining on runners in front of me, a psychological booster. I was caught off guard by a steady incline though, and angry at myself for slowing down.
When I started the second loop, I let my legs stretch, delighted by how fresh they felt. I lapped the incline and when I was on the last stretch of the race, kept increasing the pace regardless of my screaming knee. According to the monitor, I completed the 10k in 47min which got me doing a little victory dance in front of the dildo stand set strategically at the end of the race.
We’re now gearing up to have me run Oxford’s Half Marathon in October and I tentatively signed up for a marathon in March 2019 and an ultra in April 2019. It may be overly ambitious but Daz has confidence so, so do I.