This morning we participated in the first-ever 5K run for the Mama Vilma's Family Home project.  The event was sponsored by the Funky Monkey Bar & Grill at the Cloisters, owned by Dale from Ohio, whom we'd met when he gave us a ride in his cart to town one day not long ago.  

The run began in Central Park and ended at the Funky Monkey, so we decided to walk to town to avoid having to leave our bikes somewhere.  The dark sky was threatening rain.  Once we crossed from the beach onto the road, we got a ride the rest of the way from Dov in his golf cart, who was also participating in the run.  This was nice as we were going to be getting plenty of exercise already, but it got to us to the start quite early, and there was plenty of waiting around time after we registered.  We enjoyed chatting with Dov, Taz and her daughter (who were walking).  Our friend Maureen even came over to chat for a few minutes as she and Robert were eating breakfast at Estelle's close to the start of the race.  She was all dressed for running, and if she hadn't been wearing flip-flops, we would have insisted she join us!

As we watched the sign-in sheets, I noticed that I was the only woman in my age group (46-54), so I was assured an age group win (haha!), while Barry had two other men in his age group.  Unfortunately, being a first-time event, the number of participants was low, with only twelve runners and four walkers.  Hopefully there will be a much better turnout next time around, as the entry fee goes to an excellent cause.  (Read more about the vision for the Mama Vilma's Family Home  on Tacogirl's blog.)

Finally, with the ear-splitting sound only an air horn can make, we were off.  The sun was out by this time, and it was very humid. The threatening clouds never did produce any rain. Barry tells me that it became more overcast again as the run went on, but I actually didn't even notice.  I just felt hot and sweaty from the humidity, but we've been training in this tropical weather since early September, so we were well prepared.  Since this was my first official 5K event, I did exactly what was recommended on various websites I read ahead of time -- started slowly.  I am a slower runner anyway, so by starting slowly to pace myself, I knew I would not catch any of the other runners, since everyone in front of me was either male or much younger.  I did end up passing two women who started out quickly but ended up slowing to a walk in the first mile.  I just wanted to finish without walking, and whatever time I happened to end up with, I could live with.

The route started on the paved town roads, made its way north over the Boca del Rio bridge, then headed north on the unpaved road up to the turnaround point at Ak'Bol, about 2/3 of the way along the course.  It then headed south back to the Funky Monkey. 

As I was heading north but had not yet reached the turnaround point, I saw the motorcycle escort leading out the first runner making his way back to the finish.  Much to my surprise, it was Barry!  I knew he was fast, but since he was also one of the older runners, I didn't expect him to win the race.  Since there was no one chomping at his heels, I could tell that he was going to place first if he didn't have an unfortunate accident, and that fact really boosted my spirits for the rest of my run.  

As I made my way to the turnaround, all of the faster runners on their way back yelled out encouraging comments to me like "Way to Hustle!", and "Good going!" as they ran by.  I guess this must be a race tradition for the faster runners to encourage the slower ones.  I wasn't aware of it since I've never done an official race, and biking events are typically not out-and-back, but it was nice to feel supported.

I ended up placing 10th overall with a time of 30:28, which turns out to be a 9:50 pace, my fastest ever for that length run.  I used to do more like a 10:30 pace on the treadmill at the gym at work, and I'm even slower on our beach runs.  I guess knowing this was timed and seeing all the faster runners got my adrenaline flowing!  And of course, as predicted, I was first (and only) in my age group...woohoo!

Barry was the star of the day, placing first overall with an excellent time of 23:16, a 7:30 pace.  This is even more impressive since he'll be 58 in less than a week.  I am very proud of him!  The medals are held up in customs somewhere, but he will certainly be getting one at some point.  

We hung around the Funky Monkey for water and photos for awhile -- supposedly a group photo will be in the San Pedro Sun soon, and if so I will link to it here.  I wish there were more photos of Barry in the following shots, but he was wielding the camera for most of the time.
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Walking to town with threatening clouds to the north
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Dov and his golf cart made our trip in a bit quicker
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Signing in
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Barry before the race
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Pre-run stretching
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Waiting to start
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Runners gather at the start. Dale (right) wields the air horn.
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Almost time to start!
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Dov and another runner in town -- this is the newly paved road to the bridge.
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Unpaved road north of town in Tres Cocos area. Much easier running surface than the paved road.
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Turnaround point at Ak'Bol was this little red table with a tiny Christmas tree atop it!
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Police escort in front of Barry on "back" leg. I am still on "out" leg.
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Race ended here
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I think I can, I think I can...
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Done!
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the Funky Monkey - cute place!
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Post-run water and milling about
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The Funky Monkey -- we gotta get here for a meal; it's not a bad walk from our condo.
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Barry's placement and time - YES!
 
Since arriving in Ambergris Caye, we have started running in the morning three times a week.  The sun rises so early here (5:39 am currently) that it's already quite warm, humid (of course, this is the tropics), and (usually) sunny even at 7 am, so even managing two miles is, for me, quite a feat.  But in addition to being an excellent workout, this is a beautiful place to run and easy on the body running on the packed sand, so I plan to challenge myself to keep this up.  It's a breeze for Barry, a natural runner, while I struggle along way behind him, but it is nice to have yet another thing to do together.
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I carry a bandanna for mopping up sweat everywhere I go here!
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Barry running with Chico Caribe in the background
After the run, we quickly change into our swimsuits for the mandatory "pool-down".  I can't begin to tell you how good this feels!
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The reward!