This last weekend the city of Pereira hosted the 4th Annual Eje Cafetero Half Marathon. I ran this race two years ago, implausably as the "3rd Annual," and achieved my personal best time for running 21 kilometers (13.1 miles). This time around was a little different.
I finished in a reasonable one hour and 43 minutes, about twenty minutes slower than my last and best attempt, but given the circumstances (read: excuses) I can live with the time. Pereira is in the coffee region of Colombia and is quite hilly and a slightly higher elevation than Cali, however, not enough to really blame altitude for my poorer performance. The race started off gloriously cloudy at 9 am but began clearing about thrity minutes into the race. The sun, while scorching, will also stay off my "blame list."
|Yes, its gross.|
Finally, and the proverbial nail in the coffin, was the decision to eat a buñuelo 45 minutes before the starter's gun. A buñuelo is Colombia's delicious answer to a donut hole - a deep-fried salty mass of white flour, corn meal, and cheese the size of a billiard ball. Obviously, this is not the fuel of champions; don't ask me what I was thinking.
All in all though, it was a great day for a race. The water stations, route, traffic controls, and military presence, were all organized well and its always good to have a feeling of accomplishment to start off a Sunday morning, even if it is with a sore foot and a little nausea.