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Monday, July 28, 2014

My Tijuana Marathon Experience

There is a free marathon and Half marathon put on every year by the the city of Tijuana to promote tourism in Mexico. I think the real reason is they want you to see that if you go down to Mexico you won't get shot or mugged and there is not drug dealers running around the streets. I know maybe years ago it seems things where that way, but not anymore.  I met a guy a couple of years ago who would, for $20, sign you up to run the marathon, then go pick up your bib in Mexico and bring it back . I would pay anyone $20 to cross the border for me. I hate the border, its always so long, so I looked up his email and contacted him again, and he said he was still picking up bibs. Then I called my dad and Mikes best friend Jeff and asked if they wanted to run the half or the full with me. I also asked a bunch of people from The Loaffers running group, but I had no luck. Most people are scared to go down to Tijuana.  Since I had no one to run with I thought maybe I just wouldn't do it, but I really knew I should because Its and good race and I needed to get the training in. I woke up at 3 because Jack is teething so I just got ready and left my house around 4:15. As a mom of four not only am I going to run a marathon, I get the whole day to myself..That's rare so heck yes I will take it. 
The race map.

Transportation is provided. You meet in San Ysidro at 5:30 and they drive you Mexico and to the race. Here is the best part of this: they also bring you back..Yes, they wait until a certain time and bring back across the border. In an air-conditioned bus. It is great. This is a picture of me leaving customs entering Mexico. From here they take us to the start line and they have a tent set up with free breakfast and water, it was very VIP. The girl in charge of this part of the race works for Road Runner Sports. She was really helpful. The other kids on the bus, and I say kids because the oldest was 26, were all from SDTC. They all ran the half marathon and two placed, and the rest did not because of the humidity. They were a really nice group of people, most runners are . We got all our bags situated and made sure we put our passports in a safe place, and then of I went to the starting line. I stood closer to the back because I was running the full and most people ran the half. I mean a couple thousand ran the half about 300 ran the full.
I saw a couple people with these socks. Some had Jesus and others the Virgin Mary. This is very Mexican. It made me smile. There was lots of excitement in the air and people doing jumping jacks and I could smell Bengay in the air. Hey, its the annual Tijuana Marathon, it's exciting stuff. 

 Here is a short video of the starting line. There are no corrals, just ready set go.
Here is my mantra, little did I know how much I would need it.

Here I am right before we started. I am still Happy.

The first half of the race was ok. I wanted to run the race in 4 hours or so..I ran the first half in 2 hours so it was ok. It is a little hilly and the whole thing is on the streets and they're not perfectly even and the humidity was crazy yesterday morning, so by mile 3 I knew it was going to be hard. I just felt like all my energy was being sucked out. I wanted to stop at the half marathon point. I even thought about stopping and getting a cab at mile 15 because it was so freaking humid, so for a couple miles I just imagined myself getting in a cab and going home and having a beer. Then at mile 18 I met a fellow runner. his name is Victor and he was just what I needed .  He wanted to talk and was upper motivated to finish. He made up funny sayings with my name in them and he was so excited about all things running.  It was his first marathon and he told me with so much excitement about his training and how he was going to finish in 4 hours. This race was had all the water stops you needed and gatorade. The one thing the second half did not have was people cheering you on, so you really had to be self motivated. Oh I almost forget to tell, you I forgot to charge my watch so I really was not sure where I was. I
guess-timated. I felt like hell from mile 20 to 26. I felt like I was melting, but I managed to finish and I went way over my 4 hour goal. I ran it in 4:21  I haven't seen the official results. I definitely grew as a runner. I feel capable of more because I finished. I am glad I did not take a cab.

Here is the medal. Its pretty and I earned it.

So after I walked around a little and changed my clothes, I went back to the bus and I can not tell you how happy I was not to have to drive or walk across the border . The wait time walking was 4 hours for pedestrians and cars had to wait 2 hours. We waited 20 minutes in the bus line… I will do this race again next year for sure but the half seems way more fun. I ended my race with a mexican Coke . Thank you for reading my blog and happy miles.

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