Runner's kit: what is inside?
Exactly one week ago, when I went to pick up my kit from the Adidas fair in Parque de l'Agua, I was 80% excited and 20%nervous about the idea of running 21K (21,097494 kms, to be exact like the academics like to be) at the occasion of Movistar Marathon in Lima.
The last time I participated a running event for a half marathon was a few years ago, in 2006. At that time my time was something around 2h20mins, I unfortunately do not remember very exactly. I did not consider it as a good time, but not a bad one either: my main concern had been to be able to run the whole distance, whatever time it would take.
In 2006, I did not follow any particular training programme, just went running a couple of times per week, like I have been doing as long as I remember. If there has been some months with less running, I usually compensated with something else: swimming, gym, yoga or cycling. This time I did not have any training programme either, not even any smartphone application that would post to Facebook or some other social media each time I go for a run. As I told already earlier in this blog, I signed up spontaneously about one month before the event, because I wanted to go with a friend (who then had to cancel due to her injury).
But first, let us peek inside of this mysterious, orange plastic bag. I have always loved all kind of "kits", so you can imagine that I was like a kid on a Christmas day (which happens to be my birthday too=double presents) when I received my kit.As a background information, you should perhaps know that apart from that above mentioned half marathon in 2006, I have also participated in other, minor running events, so I have some experience with runner's kits.
Kitwise, women's running events are the best, especially if the event has interesting sponsors. In that case, you can find in your kit magazines, shampoo samples, energy bars, discount vouchers for clothes stores, tampons...anything, basically. Not that I can not afford my personal hygiene products ( this may come as a suprise, but most academics can -some just are less careful about their toilette). It's more about the excitement of what you can find in the kit. It feels like a present, so for a moment it makes you forget the high participation fee you paid for the run.
Now, I must say that this Lima marathon kit disappointed me greatly. What was inside? An orange t-shirt -not my color at all, not in this tone at least. Suits better dark people. Then, a little sample of sunscreen, which I did not need because the day was cloudy, but no problem, I can use it another time, so thank you very much for that. Then there was my number, the chip for timing, ticket for a locker where you can keep your stuff while you run and a sticker. A sticker! Where am I suppose to stick it, on my laptop or on my desk, like a teenager? Very, very disappointed with my kit.
I would say that surviving the kit disappointment was the first challenge of the run. The next challenge was to wake up early enough: the race was about to start at 8AM. My boyfriend-coach and I were planning to be there around 7AM, but of course this did not happen. We arrived about twenty minutes before the start, but that was ok. I stretched and warmed up briefly. At home, I had had a very small cup of coffee and some yoghurt and müsli for breakfast.
The first 5 kilometers were as expected, difficult to run because the road was too crowded. I started very slowly in order to warm up properly, but after 5K I became frustrated and passed some people to find runners who run in my pace. Then I drafted behind them until 10K.
After 10K, the energy drink started to take effect, and I kind of "woke up", and felt good about increasing my pace. Still, I tried to be careful to keep the same pace until the end of the race, and I must say I quite well succeeded doing this. So well, that on last kilometer I left behind a few people.
For me, personally, I would say that the difficult part was at the 17K, when I started to feel tired and having still 4 kilometers in front of me did not feel encouraging. But then, after 18K it felt like there is only so little left that I dared to run as fast as I still could.
On my first half marathon I remember having stopped to drink on each of the drinking points. This time I only had a quick sip and continued running. I had read some articles in the internet on running and hydration, and it seems that 21K does not require much drinking, unless you really feel thirsty.
At the end, my result (counted with the chip) was 1h56mins16sec. Quite an improvement from the first half marathon! I can not name any particular reasons for this improvement and I think the main reason for the better time was that I KNEW I had ran it before and I knew what to expect. Also, I have been training uphill running recently, and stairs, and I feel that it has improved my leg muscles. Many people also believe that practicing yoga is good for runners, and from my personal experience I can only confirm
Setting my headphones for 21K
Past Sunday, the 20th May, Lima the Grey turned into Lima the Orange for one morning. Runners took over the streets in the neighbourhoods of San Borja, San Isidro and Miraflores, as it was time for a huge sport event: Lima Marathon sponsored and organized by Movistar and Adidas Running.I did not run the full 42K marathon myself, but I did half-marathon, 21K. I signed up for it quite spontaneously. The story goes like this: in a yoga retreat (of which I wrote about in an earlier post), I met a Peruvian girl Rocio, who is very athletic and also likes running. She told me about the event and that she was planning to go. I had run 21K once before, in 2006, and I estimated that I would be fit enough to do it this year too, so I signed up in a nearby Adidas store. It worked as a great motivation to get myself out for a run!But then, due to an injury, Rocio was not able to participate this time. I still had to walk the walk (or run the run, in this case) and so I did! And so glad I did it, because the whole event was lots of fun and totally worth waking up at 6.30AM on Sunday morning. I will share here some photos from the event, taken by Juan Martin.First, stretching, stretching...most people were wearing the orange shirt and a cap provided in our kit:
Ready, steady...I think this next picture captures very well the pre-start excitement:
And these other photos are from the various drinking points from along the route:
The winner of 42K was a Kenyan, Isaac Kimayo, with 2h 16min result. Women's 42K winner was a Peruvian lady, Además de Canchanya 2h 58min 49sec time. Congratulations for them!
Oh, and my time on 21K? It was apparently 1h 56 min 16sec, as counted with a chip.
In my next post I will tell more about the run and the feelings, and I will share with you some reflections on training...until then, chao!
Photos © Juan Martin Cabrejos
Peruvian Paso horse in Pisac, Sacred Valley
Today I read about a photo exhibition called "Andares" by a Peruvian photographer Ana María García Montero. She has taken beautiful pictures of Peruvian Paso horses: by clicking this link you can see some of her work.
This reminded me of my encounter with these very noble creatures in Pisac, in the Valley of Urubamba, about a month ago.It was our last day in Pisac and we went for a little walk. Suddenly I saw a horse in front of a café/restaurant. Went to take a closer look and turned out it was a paso horse, owned by a local gentleman who breeds them. What is special with paso horses is that they have a gait called "champagne walk". It means that the horse steps so smoothly that the rider should be able to sit at the back and hold a tray of champagne without dropping any of the drink. Champagne walk! How classy is that? I love all kind of horses, but this one is clearly my favorite!
We were invited to go inside to the horse stall (or actually, it was a back yard of a hotel-in-construction) to see more horses. There was even one baby:
Another paso horse in Pisac
Baby paso horse
Then...I asked the owner how much would a paso horse cost me. For 10 000 US dollars it would be mine, was the answer. Hmmm...let me still think about it. One hour riding tour -more tempting option -would have been available for 20 dollars, but it was our last hours in Pisac and there were no more time for it.
Well, bye bye then, dear horse friends: I hope to see you soon again!
No, but actually, at the end I did get myself a horse from Pisac. Ok, it's not a real one, but I love it, and it now decorates my working space. (I had to first clean my desk to take this picture...)
Well...I can't give you many addresses, but I can give you one good one!
José, Arriba Peru retaurant
Arriba Peru. This little restaurant that does not look anyhow spectacular outside, but it is a mythic place for all lobster lovers. It's located in Zorritos, in Northern Peru. Zorritos is a sleepy little fishermen town, with cockfights on Sundays as a highlight of the week.
José, the owner and chef of Arriba Peru, has been running the place for 43 years already. He is very friendly, takes his time with his clients and has quite a few stories to tell. All the Peruvian presidents have eaten in his restaurant.
But there is one thing José does not talk about: his recipes. He never lets anybody in his kitchen, so the way how he prepares the lobsters will remain secret. Oh, and the starter oysters au naturel are very delicious too!
José telling stories
Where to start?
I have a little weakness for eco gadgets: all little things that are natural and supposedly good for the planet.
Fish scale nail file, Amazonia Spa
Of course I know that the best way to protect the environment would be to not to shop at all, but how realistic is that? A wise old Indian woman told me once in Delhi: "Shopping is a natural right for women", and I totally agree!
Shopping brings out our gathering instincts, and the best thing is when you find something new and suprising. So you can perhaps imagine my happiness when the other day while on a shopping tour in Barranco I found a new eco gadget that nobody in my entourage has yet: a nail file made of a fish scale. So cool!
The product is described like this: "Each natural nail file is made from a scale of the gigant fish "Arapaima", packed in an amazonic hand painted loom with natural dyes painted by native "shipibos" of the Peruvian Amazon and it's adorned by a sterling silver application."
The brand is called Spa Amazonia, but when I googled it I didn't find their web page. However, it's pretty with a little delicate silver decoration and it came in a bag that is decorated with ayahuasca pattern. It's quite thin, so I suppose that if I will travel I should stuff that little bag with cotton or something similar, to protect the file from breaking. I once had a glass file, but dropped it on the bathroom floor once and that was about it then! This one will not get broken if you drop it, but it looks like it can break in your bag if you leave it unprotected. I will make sure I am going to treat it carefully so it will last long.
How ecological it is? Wikipedia tells us that Arapaima is a living fossil and one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world. It is also one of the most sought after fish species for food, and considered as a delicacy. It is indeed huge, as one individual can give 70 kg of meat! Ecology point for these nail files:at least something useful is created from the leftovers. If the file lasts long (we will see about that!), then it is a sustainable product, and if not, it will at least dissolve into the nature where it came from.
And is it good to use? Seems like it is. You use the white part for filing your nails, it has a little bit rough surface, but it still feels much softer than industrial disposable files. It is actually very gentle. The time will tell how good buy it was, but as any eco gadget, it will surely make a great conversation starter!EDIT May 16: I got this File from Dédalo, which is a nice art gallery/shop/café in Barranco. It costed 39 nuevo soles, which is around 12 euros.