I think it’s quite appropriate that my race report for my 10k at the Reggae Marathon is coming 8 days later. Normally, I have them up within 24 hours. Jamaicans aren’t exactly known for their promptness. I feel I’m representing my people well.
That being said – this was one of the most well-organized races I have ever attended, which I was most definitely not expecting. The race started at 5:15 AM, and I had turned on my Garmin and corralled myself in the back with my mother by about 5:10. I was sitting on the ground doing a bit of stretching when I heard an air horn. I looked at my watch. 5:15. I looked ahead and saw people take off. Legit. I walked toward the start with my mother, turned on my music, and started running as I crossed the first timing mat.
Bob Marley’s “Exodus” was playing as we started. I grinned as I appreciated the appropriateness of the song. It always feels amazing to be part of the mass exodus toward glory that is the start of any race. Off went my own music. At the beginning of the course, the road was lined with people holding torches and cheering us on. A band of steel pans was playing for us just around the bend. This music is pretty sweet. Each time it would fade, I turned on my music, but I found myself having to turn it off and on to hear the awesomeness the race organizers were offering me. You read that right. I had no choice.
Like Coachie said, I was there to have fun. My goal was to run no less than a 12 minute mile, and that I did. I sang along to the best songs. I paid attention to my angry left foot. I passed incredible scents as I ran along the main road where the resorts were preparing food for the day. “Singing – good. Stopping for jerk chicken during the race – bad.” I do have boundaries, even for my fun, you know.
The race was just an out and back course. I saw the chute where we had started and I began to pick up my pace. I crossed the timing mat and looked at my watch. “5.8 miles…weird.” New rule: if someone isn’t handing you a medal or bottle of water, don’t slow down. Thankfully, I created this rule right then so I didn’t lose any time. A bit ahead was a sign that read, “10k turn around, half and full marathon straight ahead.” “Thank God!” I shouted. I wasn’t terribly fatigued, but I had free beer and bacon waiting for me. I pushed for the actual finish line, feeling strong and happy.
“We run tings, tings no run we” is a Jamaican saying. It essentially is a reminder that circumstances can’t control us. I am elated, beyond the breakfast and booze, that I did not allow what I had scheduled previously (a full marathon) to dictate what I did because that would not have been good for me. I went to Jamaica and had a blast. If running a 10k at 1:12:46 is my rock bottom, by God’s grace I’ve come a crazy long way in the last two years.