Way back when in December, I had hit rock bottom. Well, not really. But for the first few months after moving here, we would get so excited when we'd find things that reminded us of home...Oreo cookies, Oreo cookies, oh, and how about the mint Oreo cookies...that I'd buy them. A lot. I rarely bought Oreo's at home, but for some reason, they tasted really good here :) One day I realized I couldn't do it anymore. I had to do something drastic. So, I signed up for the Santiago Half Marathon on April 7, 2013. Wasn't in good enough shape nor did I want to do the full--they cripple me for a week afterwards. Think I'm done with them. But I could work towards a half and hoped that by signing up for it, it'd get me motivated. Another motivation? They don't have my Tall size down here, so if I ever grew out of my clothes, I'd be in biiiigggg trouble :)
The morning of the race came. I mentioned to Joe that I thought I had read there would be about 20,000 runners doing this thing. He laughed, "No way! Maybe altogether with the spectators..." We got a babysitter anyway for the kids. I was more nervous about getting to the race than actually running it! All of the streets were blocked off, so we had to take the Metro in. I was SOOO relieved that Joe was there with me, just in case. I would have been sad if I missed the whole thing because I got lost or turned around...It happens to me enough here, that it could have been a very real
When we came up from underground, we realized we were wrong. There weren't 20,000 people... there were 25,000 runners competing in three races, plus all of the people who came to cheer them on. IT WAS INSANE. I've never run a race like this before.
When it was time for me to line up, Joe started walking down with me. We just started laughing, because there was no end to the sea of people between those white gates. I started worrying about getting trampled to the concrete when the gun fired, but then I remembered I was one of the tallest ones in the group. It definitely has its advantages.
I couldn't get over the mass quantities of people--everywhere! When the gun finally did fire, I blew a kiss to Joe, turned my iPod on, and then just stood there :) It took me a good 4 minutes to get to the starting line.
I love doing races like this. Everyone is excited, happy, and friendly. The energy is fantastic. I'd turn my music off when I'd come up to one of the points with the bands playing. All of the Chileans running, would start singing to the song that was playing and they'd chant some Chilean chant together with their hands waving over the heads as they'd run by. Then I'd listen to the sound of thousands of shoes hitting the pavement. It was glorious. I was one of the 751 "extranjeros" participating in the race, but I definitely didn't feel alone out there!
The firefighters had posts along the way to cool us off. And I almost forgot! The funniest part about the whole race was all of the stray dogs running in and out and alongside the runners! I watched a guy ahead of me for about 10 minutes with a stray trotting right alongside of him. Turns out, the elite runners were complaining about the dogs, saying that it was dangerous to have them all throughout the course. Kind of hard to take care of that complaint down here... comes with the territory.
My legs were getting tired when I crossed the finish line, but I felt great! I went and picked up my medal and some snacks afterwards and headed to the meeting spot that Joe and I had decided on. He wasn't there. I walked around a little bit, but at this point, I decided sitting sounded much more inviting. After about 20 minutes, I started to worry! Where was he? I had nothing on me except a medal. That wouldn't do me much good in finding my husband among the thousands of people! I had no way of getting home...I said a little prayer that he was ok and I stayed put. 45 minutes after I finished the race, he came walking up to our meeting spot. What a glorious sight!!! Turns out he was waiting along the course watching for me, but ended up missing me. Eventually he looked at the runners and knew that I was a tad faster than that and headed to our spot.
Yeah!!!!!! I did it. Felt great. I didn't run with a watch. I just wanted to run the entire time and enjoy the race. My time was nothing extraordinary, but I ran faster than I thought I would and I achieved my goal. Here were my stats just for kicks:
Time: 2h 06 min 28 seconds
Overall: 4,501st out of 8,838 runners
Female: 681st out of 2,117 females
Age Group: 135th out of 412