It was 6am in the morning and I was ready to rock. Garmin watch, check; Salomon trail running bag, check; GU gels, check; Clif bloks, check; trekking poles, check; Buff, check, check, check, and check. Yes sir, I was more than ready to run and kick some dirt with my BRAND NEW gadgets. Notice that I wrote “brand new” with capital letters, because I purposely did so to let you know that THAT IS THE WORST THING THAT YOU COULD EVER DO BEFORE AN EVENT. So yes, you could definitely tell that I was new at it… However, I felt like a true sponsored elite representing the unrepresented category of young women in trail running and I was loving it ! The enchantment did not last long though, because I got my first slap in the face as soon as I arrived to the start line. I began to notice all the people around me and remained in a brief state of shock; they were so toned, so fit, so fierce. I had never seen anything like it before and was immediately intimidated by them.
A few feet from where I was standing, there was a young demigod sporting nothing but a loose tank, a pair of short shorts, and what seemed to be two gels held by his bottoms. I wanted to die inside, this guy was completely naked compared to how I was. I felt like a walking running store next to him and realized that if someone should look like a true elite, it was him. My inference was on point, because he happened to be one of the best runners in his category and not only that, but my mom’s friend’s son. When I thought that morning couldn’t get any more awkward, my mom introduced us and my look was immediately questioned by him. He wondered why I was wearing so many things and asked if I didn’t feel heavy. I must confess that I did not understand his question at the moment and thought that he was both cute and a jerk. However, everything made sense by mile seven, where I finally understood why he ran “half naked”.
I wanted to throw my poles away, take my shirt off, and throw up. This was a race in the coast of Venezuela- a country in South America with killer heat and humidity- where we had to run 21k in asphalt, the mountain, and the beach. By the time I reached the second section, my legs didn’t respond anymore and I remember throwing myself to the ground to “cry” while I punished myself for ever making the dumb decision of registering for that race. I was in the bridge of having a mental breakdown and I soon realized that the time had arrived for me to enjoy my GU gel, which -I must add- I had never tried before. I needed that boost of energy that everyone constantly talked about and, I don’t know if it was merely psychological, but I felt like Speedy Gonzales after I had it. Moments after indulging my magical potion, I realized that my transformation into the Looney Tunes character was driven by physiological reasons instead of psychological ones. My empty virginal stomach could not handle the heaviness of the product and, in an unexpected turn of events, my purpose to reach the finish line had changed, I desperately needed to go to the restroom !!!
I must confess that I was openly hoping, while I cussed at the top of my lungs, that the unpleasant surprises were over. With heavy legs, an upset stomach, blisters building in, and a broken moral, I was still somewhat ready to tackle the remaining kilometers. Little did I know, that the following and final section had even greater challenges awaiting me… Why ? Because my greatest memories have blisters on them !!