Running a 10K

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday. I already felt very productive, yet very tired. I prepared myself mentally for my annual run; literally, the only sporty thing I do all year round. I had a hot breakfast, drank some sport juice and my dad drove silently all the way to the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. When we got there, there were more than 50 school buses playing salsa music waiting to take runners and spectators near the 10k route…

 

The buses dropped us off on the Constitution Avenue in Old San Juan. Us runners had to walk a few minutes to get to the starting line, which was in front of a fast food restaurant on the Luis Muños Rivera Avenue. It would seem like there were a lot of participants this year, but the narrow streets were playing an illusion...

 

I barely stretched, huge mistake! It was already 7 o’clock in the morning and Iván Rodríguez, who recently won his space in the Hall of Fame, pulled the trigger on the device that announced all running aficionados that it was time to go!

 

I was running with this big old poker face next to my dad, who seemed to be proud of me because we actually ran the first kilometer and a half together. My legs and knees hurt big time so I decided to slow down and walk it off. Dad was long gone, which is what usually happens…

 

It didn’t rain, but there was water drizzling down the sky. I wear glasses, so I was blinded off by water and very annoyed by it because I had just started my third kilometer and I didn’t wish for inconveniences.

 

I still don’t know if I ran, jogged, or walked my way up to the fifth kilometer, but I do remember asking a police guard for the time and he said engagingly: “7:45”. From that moment, I knew I wasn’t going to finish the race in the time I had aimed for, so I decided to enjoy the view of the buildings around Condado, of tourists walking their dogs -and drunk tourists still hanging out at some bar-, of tired runners who stopped to take a breather and of working Boy Scouts who were giving out water on even kilometers.

 

I don’t remember where on the route, but I do know that I was stretching my arms and neck while walking and some old man who wasn’t participating of the race said something that I really just had to block out so it didn’t ruin my peace. I will rant: a girl can’t even run a 10k without being verbally harassed!

 

Anyways, eventually we were back in Old San Juan. Stupidly, I wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t for the people who started throwing shade at the Governor and the Capitols workers when we ran around their building…

 

I was so excited, I knew there were only two kilometers left! I could smell the finish line: all I had to do was continue on a straight line for 2 kilometers! I really wanted to run them, but hey! I can still reach the finish line walking. I already doubled my running time, so if I’m going to do some record damage: go big or go home, right?!

 

I walked. No shame. But, as I got closer to the finish line, my feet got excited and my pace got faster. And then: I did it! I finished my seventh 10k! Although it was my worst one so far, I enjoyed the run/jog/walk. I didn’t even bother looking at my time, but I will say I finished with the last thousands of runners, and proud!

 

I then reunited with my dad by shouting our code word: “Michigan” (don’t ask why, no one knows where that idea for a code word came from) and then walked some more towards the buses that were to take us back to the Coliseum.

 

From what I heard on the bus, the runners found this route a lot more competitive than the original one for this 10k and I couldn’t agree more; although, this one was more panoramic. The enchantment of accomplishment was dulled by the sweaty smell on the bus and the salsa music that was no more needed for motivation. We all just wanted to go home, take a shower and sleep!

 

On our way to the car, my dad and I overheard some old men discussing their performance and we learned that they were our 10k twins! Huh? One of them arrived at the finish line with dad and the other one arrived at the same time as me! I feel good for them, staying healthy, being productive, overshadowing me, enjoying their retirement…

 

Anyway...

 

For someone who didn’t train at all and who runs a specific 10k with her dad for tradition, I did pretty good. Evidence? I got my medal before 9 in the morning!

 

Photos from: Pexels