Monday, April 15, 2013

A Correr

I ran my first race in Nicaragua this past weekend -- a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) run hosted by Managua Runners, the local running club. Between a new country and a new baby, running had fallen off the front burner for our first few years here, but since the new year we've been making an effort to get out and get training. As you might imagine, the biggest obstacle to running here in Nicaragua is the heat. Running during the day is pretty much a no-no and many Nicas will run at 5 a.m. to take advantage of the early morning cool. (Note: we are not that ambitious...)

The starting line (photo: Managua Runners)
Anyway, the race was a lot of fun. I had missed the excitement of the starting line, of being in a big group of runners, jittery with adrenaline, music blasting. I had been nursing a mild head cold for a few days (just my luck) and was worried I might have to skip the race, which would have been a bummer. Sunday morning I was feeling only about 80%, energy-wise, but decided to go ahead and run anyway. The race started at 7 a.m. and the heat wasn't too bad, at least at the start, although an hour later, as we were finishing, was another story.

For those who know Managua, here's the route (click for map). It started off from Centro Pellas with a long uphill stretch up the Carretera Masaya, then followed by a long downhill. There was a long stretch without shade towards the end (near the Universidad Centro America) where the heat suddenly hit you, but thankfully the bomberos (firefighters) were there to spray us with the firehose. And then back to the start to collect your complementary banana and unlimited bottles of water. In the end, I finished in 58:08 for a 9:22 mile pace and placed 145th out of 413 runners. Originally, I was hoping to get under a 9:00 pace, but in the end I was happy just to be out there.

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