Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I Finished It

I finished that Half Marathon i bragged about earlier. I didn't finish last and i did it in less than 3 hours. So my 2 goals were actually met. I am so proud of myself i cant even start to explain.

We got up at 5:30am to be ready on the departure line at 6:30am as initially planned. There was this excitement going on around us and i could feel the adrenaline raising and honestly, i wanted to be time to get going.

They gave us little bags of colored powder to throw in the air when the "go" was said - don't ask, i didn't get the point either. They wanted to make this a unique only in Vallarta kinda thing but seriously, when you have 176 people throwing powder in the air, you start your run in the middle of this gigantic colorful cloud, you cant see shit and you're covered in 10 different colors. No, even now, still don't see the point of it.

So there we were. All covered in purple and orange (and yellow and pink), beginning to run our 21 km. Miguel and Michael, the other 2 guys from the office dashed out. Dear Beloved was behind me and my first concern was to adjust my steps to my breathing and keep the rhythm. 

So many people passed me but i didn't really care to be honest. I wasn't racing against anybody but myself. It was MY race and it was for ME.

I knew there was going to be a table with water and gatorade every 2km. So when i saw the first one, i was like, well that was fast. Then i passed the return for the 5k. There were 3 races in fact. A half marathon, a 10k (who left 10 minutes behind us) and a 5k (who left 10 minutes after the 10k). At this point, i was doing well, and i was doing well up until i saw someone coming on the return line. With an official number. And i hadn't even reached the 5k mark. For a second i thought, damn, am i that slow? Is it really worth keeping running that? I mean seriously, you're on your way back already??
And then another one. And another. And i was like this is not right. I've been running for less than 30 minutes, there is no way someone is already almost back. And just a few seconds after that, here it was: the return mark for the 10k. And i thought, bunch of pussy faces, they only on for the 10k. No wonder they're already on the way back.

And the base get running running and running running .... You HAVE to have motivating music to run. And the Black Eyed Peas are cool for that! Them among many others on my playlist. 

Things started to get tricky after passing km 9. The road wasn't flat anymore so it's a killer for the knees and the legs cuz it was inclined but sideways. It's not going uphill or downhill, it's going sideways like a Nascar's track. When i finally got to the point i was convinced was the 10.5km mark, and i saw the runners in front of me keeping on going straight, i was like this is a joke, this has got to be a joke, how far do we still have to go??? After running 10k, 500 meters seem like a light-year away.  But i did pass it, i did step on those carpets that capture the time with the chip you have attached on your shoe, i did hear the cheer of the staff standing there and i thought, from this point on, i'm already a winner. 

I knew i could run 10k so passing that mark was the mental minimum i should reach. Anything passed that point was already a huge accomplishment for me. 

And i kept running.

But after another 1.5km of running, we got back to that Nascar's track and that totally fucked me up. I couldn't feel my right leg, i had this big cramp in my foot and i thought, it's not worth hurting myself. So i started to walk. Dear Beloved kept on going.

I must say, the walking i did between km13 and km15 was hard on my mental. I got passed by a dozen runners and i was honestly convinced i was the last of the race. I stopped at the water stand at km14 for about 10 minutes. I was so thirsty, i was exhausted, i was in pain, i wanted to quit so bad. In fact, i wanted it to stop. I wanted the pain to stop.
But then i realized that even though it was hard, it wasn't costing me much to keep walking. And i couldn't get this out of my head, that pain is temporary, quitting is forever. That there is always the easy way out of giving up. And i just couldn't stop.

It's on km17 that i realized i wasn't last, that this older man dressed as a clown was behind me and that if he could do it, damn it so could i. I waited for him to catch up with me and when he told me "si puedes", he gave me that extra push that i so badly needed. And i started to run again, for another 2 kilometers or so. I saw my boss and colleagues on the side of the streets further down the road with big signs and banners, shouting and cheering and it was overwhelmingly awesome.

I walked some more but when i reached km20 and that i could actually see the finish line at the end of the road, i got that energy kick and began to run again. And that's when it became real. I was this close to finish that shit. I was this close to actually finish a half marathon. It didn't matter how much time had passed since i had started, it didn't matter if i was going to be last, all that mattered at that particular time was the fact that i was going to finish this. And i wanted to cry so bad, tears actually started to run down my face. 

It's when i had the finish line standing some 50 meters away that emotion got the best of me. I had this gigantic ball of tears stuck in my throat i could barely breathe. It's when you realize that you're not just going to finish this, you're actually about to cross the finish line. And all the other runners are there waiting for you, and everybody is cheering and clapping and shouting, and there is so much noise and so much emotion but the only thing you really see, is that carpet you need to step on to officially end your suffering.

It's 21 km of pain. It's 21 km of you and the road and the pain. I did it in 2 hours 52 minutes and 28 seconds. It's an emotion that no word is big enough to describe. But one thing is certain:

1 comment:

  1. huge congrats maty! what an awesome account of your race day. i've been waiting to read all about it and it definitely did not disappoint! i doubly enjoyed this post because you're always such a great storyteller, but for this one, i was also living the experience and my desire to run a half marathon thru you.

    sadly, i haven't been gutsy enough to run a half marathon yet, but i've pushed myself to my max physical limits on a few hikes, so i can kinda relate to the feelings of wanting to quit, of questioning my toughness and my will to grind out the pain, and wanting to simply collapse.

    i love the saying that pain is temporary, but quitting is forever. i'm so glad that you found the guts to finish that damn race, because knowing you, you would have been really pissed off at yourself had you given up.

    totally inspiring story maty - for sure that's one big check mark on your life list!

    hugo xo