Next Saturday is the Nike 10k race in Buenos Aires. The race has already been run in several cities throughout the world, though I think the original idea was to have cities throughout the world running at the exact same time, which is obviously difficult for some cities in night time. I’ve been training for this race for months now, but if you’ve been following along over the years, you know that I picked up the habit of running back in Ecuador, halfway through my year there. Come to think of it now, it’s actually pretty cool to think that I can look back some day and have a running commentary of the training I’ve gone through.
It started as a way to kill some time in my empty days in Ecuador, until I was finally challenged by my host mom to run in a 10k in Cuenca. That was high altitude running–a challenge for any runner, and I was just fresh in the game at that point. It was a slow pace with my friend Jamie, but at the end of the race I felt great and like I could keep running. This gave me ideas. Against my better judgment, my friends convinced me to sign up for a 15k in Quito the following month (June), which was at even higher altitude. The race went off well, and though it was difficult, I finished ahead of many others and held my head high.
Once back in the States I continued to run for the three weeks I was home, and I really noticed the difference from the high altitude training. Of course, that only lasted three weeks, and then I was back to regular lung status. In Buenos Aires my running got off to a rocky start, with trouble finding the time and places to run. But I did participate in the Nike 1ok last year (without signing up) and eventually moved closer to parks where I could graze freely at night. It was important for me to keep going. I ran in a couple more 10ks in March and August, and have improved on my time in every race.
The most amazing thing about this is that I used to be the kind of guy who would do anything to avoid running. Not necessarily anti-run, but not pro-run either. Yet over the course of time I’ve become a runner. At first I didn’t want to think of myself as a runner, but rather a just a guy who runs. I don’t have the short-shorts or tank tops, and I don’t buy new running shoes every few months. I don’t even stretch very well. But now I’m the guy who runs, and will look forward to getting a good run in quickly after waking up on the weekend, regardless of whether or not I’m exhausted from the night before. So looking back over the years, if you look at this as a travel or expat blog, you could also look at it as a running blog as well. It’s a category I never considered.