My typical thought process before running:
Phase 1: Lethargy. Excuses… “I could be doing homework right now, which is more important than my physical health.” This phase is quickly overcome by phase 2.
Phase 2: Overcoming my objections… “Yes, well that homework that you’re using as an excuse to be lazy won’t be very helpful if it’s finished and you go into cardiac arrest afterwards from lack of exercise.” Despite the irrationality behind these internal arguments I have with myself, they usually motivate me to go out and run.
Phase 3: First few minutes of running… “This is great!”
Phase 4: Every second that follows my first few minutes of running… “No. More.”
Phase 5: The moment I press “Stop” on my watch and run = done… “That was fun.”
Phase 6: The moment I’m home, sedentary and a cascade of endorphins rush my body… “I’M READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD.”
I just finished running a HUGE race in Quito, the “We Run Quito 10k.” Running– such a universal sport in every sense of the word. It can help train athletes for virtually any sport, anywhere; all you need is a pair of shoes! It’s really great that I can be on another continent, but feel so at home when I step onto the course of a race. When I stepped out of my taxi and onto the course, the first thing I noticed was the smell of IcyHot (the cream that people use to relieve muscle pains, very commonly used by runners). The smell of this cream actually made me smile… I haven’t smelled that since I was in the states. This got me stoked for the race, smelling this was a sign to me that this was going to be a legitimate and great race. And it was a great race (and that’s not just my Phase 6 talking– it was such a well organized race through the scenic metropolis of Quito!)
To any fellow runners out there, I’ll describe some of the similarities/differences of Ecuadorian races. This was only my second race here, but I already consider myself a veteran-racer here.
1. There will always be runners that don’t understand the concept of “corrals.” I LOVE that people want to start trying to get in shape, and a lot of people decide to do this with their friends via large races (like the race I was in today!). What I don’t LOVE is when these groups of people stand in the first corrals (for those of you who don’t run, the front corrals are for more advanced runners, and the corrals in the back are for less experienced racers. They make these corrals specifically so runners can run at their own pace, designated by the corrals) and literally walk out of the starting line. Unfortunately, this happens in both America AND Ecuador. If I had a dollar for every person that did this today, I would be at least a thousandiare.
2. Runners are so friendly! Maybe that’s my unconscious motivation to keep running… maybe I run to surround myself with such positive and funny people. Not sure, but they’re so friendly here too.
3. Runners have the best support groups! Although I miss not having my family and friends here to cheer for me, there are still plenty of people chanting “VAMOS CAMPEONES”… or sometimes when I hear things like “VAMANOS LUIS”, I imagine that it’s my friends, saying my name. There are also bands/dancers/entertainers placed every few kilometers which offers runners pretty neat/entertaining support.
4. FREE STUFF. And lot’s of it.
Ok I can’t think of any more similarities, so I’ll do differences now.
1. Water stations. The difference is the water BAGS that they hand out. No, we do not use water cups here. They hand you a sealed little bag of water, and you have to chew at it to open it. In my first race, I really struggled opening the little bag. I chewed at it for over 2 minutes (while running and not slowing my pace) AND COULD NOT OPEN IT. Frustrating? Yes. But, now since I’m practically a Quito-running veteran, I tore that bag open with ease. People were impressed… or maybe other people weren’t so impressed, but I was impressed at this newfound ability.
2. The altitude. Ahh! I’ve gotten use to the altitude for the most part, but man! I think it makes me a little extra tired at the end of each race.
3. People run with their dogs…? This is allowed in certain races (at least in the states), just like in certain races, you can run with your baby in a stroller. But this didn’t seem like one of those races. I saw a lady jogging at the race with her lap dog… poor dog! It was so small. So prone to being trampled. 6.2 miles for a little dog. All I could think was “Suerte, perrito (good luck, little dog).”
Sorry to those who are uninterested by running. But this was a spectacular event, something I thought was worth blogging about! Also, I carried my camera while I was running… so I took a few pictures during my 10k. Some pictures came out better than others, but check them out!
Now that you’ve read this blog, go on a run! You’ll love it. Who knows where your path will lead to.