Monday, February 2, 2009

Run, Forest, Run!

Whoever said Mexicans only play soccer (aka futbol) must have never actually been to the country. In the DF, while I have yet to see a soccer ball, I have seen volleyball, racketball, basketball, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, yoga, karate and, my personal favorite, running. While UNAM boasts a large swimming pool and outdoor workout facility, the building next to my house is actually a gym. I literally share the wall of my bedroom with a racketball court, although the walls are so thick the most I hear are faint thuds in the quiet of the early morning. I have also seen them host volleyball tournaments, with teams ranging from high school girls to older men. During the weekdays, you can see teams of young volleyball and basketball players holding practices.

What excites me most about sports in Mexico City, however, is the running. Not more than a few blocks from my house are the viveros, which is the nursery for all the plants in the city. There, in the middle of the city, is my oasis, the area's premier running ground complete with a 2 km dirt path bordering the entire park. There are meter markers, a clock with the time and temperature, and even a big sign advertising a race on Feb 15 (8 am, if anyone cares to go). You can see walkers, families with strollers, and between the trees are people picnicking, religious gatherings, and even karate (or whatever sport that is where they wave around sticks). The track itself is filled with so many runners that on the weekends one almost imagines they are in a road race, swept along with all the other runners. Truly, I have never seen a community quite like it.

Of course, I have been struggling a bit on my runs with the altitude, which is over 7,000 ft. The first time I went out I only made it about 2 miles. The next time, a little more determined, I did almost 5. But today, determined to conquer the altitude and pick up the pace, I decided to do a little AT (athletic threshold--fast running, if you will). On my second round of the park, I kicked it up a notch and was soon following a young guy. His pace was perfect--a good hard pace for me but not out of reach. Of course, noticing that he was being trailed by a girl, he felt a little competitive. The first few times he tried to surge on me, and almost got away, but I hung in there, my racing mentality creeping up. At the end of the 2k, I was breathing hard but pleased that I had done it. "Muchas gracias," I told him. And this is why, above all else in running, I love the runners. Competitive, hard working, but exceedingly nice, he turned, smiled, and we kept up a conversation until I dropped off near the clock to rest.

Of course, I do stick out as one of the few girls wearing shorts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.