Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Getting Lost in Mexico City, and Enjoying it..

I decided to celebrate my 50th birthday with a long Weekend trip with Lety to Mexico City.  I saved my one run of the trip for Sunday, our last day there.  I found out there was a Cicloton that started on the Paseo de la Reforma which was near the hotel that we were staying at and made plans to run the route.  The concept of closing major streets on Sunday morning for cyclists, runners, and skaters originated in Bogota, Colombia in 1976. I had the opportunity to run along the Carrera Septima in Bogota, on one of my visits to my country of origin.
 Unfortunately, I did not do my homework and set off on the Paseo Reforma in Mexico at 0630 AM with the intention of running about 8 miles and return to the Hotel by 0800 to run a little more with Lety.  For those who don't know the area, I can share with you it is a spectacular sight.  Along the Paseo de la Reforma, I first passed the Diana Casadora Statue.

Further along, I reached the famous El Angel de la Independencia.  

Here there was an aid station with Power aide and a kiosk for repairs of bicycles. Further along was the turn towards El Zocalo and on the way there, I passed the Palacio de Bellas Artes. 

Once the cyclovia or cicloton reached Downtown, the road became a one way direction and took several turns. I thought it was making a loop back to the Paseo Reforma which was closed in both directions. I kept going confident that eventually, I would reach the main road back to the Hotel.  
I reached an aid station and much to my surprise, realized that I was 8 miles into a huge loop around the whole city, and that the entire loop was 20 miles long!

So I had a choice to make, head back or keep moving to complete the entire loop. I had not brought any water or gels, but I knew there were aid stations every few miles.  Going back meant going the wrong way with all the cyclists which as the morning passed were more numerous.   I decided to keep going after calling Lety to let her know that I would not be able to meet her. (to her credit, she went on a 4  mile run to the Angel statue on her own)
As I kept going, I ran into 7 guys from a local running club called Emocion Deportiva.  They were doing the whole loop and so I ran with them for a while.  One of them was training for the San Diego Marathon and another for an Ultra in Huachochi, Chihuahua in June. I found out that this big loop happens monthly the last Sunday of the month. The rest of the Sundays the loop is smaller.  The guys were super welcoming to me and invited me to come back for the Mexico City Marathon in August.  Apparently, they are going to follow the Olympic route through the city from 1968 and the finish will be in the Olympic Stadium.  Sounds pretty cool.

Runners from Emocion Deportiva
As I pressed ahead, we passed the Palacio de los Deportes and the Autodromo. 
Palacio de los Deportes

During the second half of the loop we encountered a total of 8 highway overpasses which added some hill training to my longer than planned run.  The entire run was in an average of 7,400 feet elevation, so it provided some altitude training. The pollution was not that bad that day and did not seem to affect me. I completed the loop in 3:40 with an average moving pace of 9:40 on my Garmin. The Garmin connect data is here: Mexico City loop

This run turned out to be a great way to see the city and get some good altitude and hill training for my next event in Los Alamos, NM.  The Jemez Mountains 50K race on May 25th.

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