Other titles I thought of “My First Trail Race,” “Racing in Peru,” or “How My Love of Trails Started”
After having been in Peru for only a day, my good friend’s fiance told me that he and his brother were going to be running a trail race on the 23rd of June. Of course I immediately asked if I could join them. I had never done a trail race before, but had been really wanting to run a race in Peru (my first race was in Argentina, and was got me hooked on racing and running), so I figured “why not!”
Next thing I knew, I was online at the MerrellPeru website signing up for the Pachacamac 11.6km Trail Race on June 23, 2013. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into (no real description of the course or elevation changes), but I was excited nonetheless.
Race morning we headed out at 7am to Pachacamac. We arrived around 8:20ish for the 9am start, which was pushed back to 9:20 – gotta love tiempo peruano.
We got all lined up, and then we were off. I was ready to go – with the small fact that I did not have trail shoes – I think they would’ve been helpful, very helpful. There were lots of slippery points on the course.
I started out in the middle of the pack, and slowly worked my way up since I had no idea what to expect over the 7.2 mile course. I had a great few two miles as they were fairly flat (I tried to stay conservative though, knowing trails usually means hills):
Mile 1: 7:43
Mile 2: 7:58
We started hitting some hills at mile 3, and I realized I was going to have to listen to my body a lot. I realized that this is what trails were all about: being smart, and taking it easy on the hills (especially when they get steep) to save energy for when you can run faster. It meant walking in a race, something I hate doing on road races but I quickly learned was going to be the ONLY way to survive out there.
Mile 3: 10:33
Mile 4: 9:53
Mile 5 began the almost 2 mile ascent of more than 1000ft. It was rough. I walked a lot – and would pick up the pace as I could.
Mile 5: 14:38
Mile 6: 11:07
And then it was pretty much all downhill to the finish. It was an awesome finish.
Mile 7: 7:17
Last .27: 2:14
Total time: 1:11:24 for 11.6km (roughly 7.27 miles).
I also later learned that the top women finished in 57:15, 57:16 and 1:00:45, so I wasn’t too far off. And I also learned that, if I am reading names correctly, I was 9th/10th woman OA and 84th OA, which was kind of exciting!
My review of the race?
The organization and timeliness was what I expected — if you’re used to races starting on time, take a breath. The race is in Peru, and 20 minutes late is sometimes considered being early (especially when you consider traffic can be bad in Lima where most runners came from). But I was happy they had a water/power ade station just around the start of mile 5 before the huge climb started. It was necessary, and I was able to grab a glass of both water & electrolyte drink before heading up.
Although I prefer to run in my own tops/bottoms for races, I do love the fact that they require people to wear the race shirt for the race. It generates a sense of camaraderie out on the course, and definitely makes for some great photos. Its also really cool to see a sea of one color (in this case orange) running the course. It reminded me a lot of my first race in Argentina, where all 25,000 runners of the Nike Corre 10k were required to wear the blue shirt in order to run. While this was on a smaller scale (~700 runners) it was definitely still a unique experience.
It was also a beautiful place to run. It was in the dessert, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it was still beautiful, albeit a little foggy.
Also, the price was total worth it. It was about S/ 70.00 I think, which at a 2.7 soles per US dollar rate, turns out to be less than $30 for a 7.2 mile race with one support station, a sweet Merrell high quality shirt, a race medal and post race water/electrolyte drink. A definite win in my book.
I would definitely run another race with MerrellPeru and Peru8Mil if I get the opportunity. (There’s a 100km race in Paracas just before I leave but I know that I would die before being able to finish, though it is still tempting!)
Have you run trail races before? Do you prefer trail or road?
Have you run a race in another country before? What was your experience?