I'm quite well known in Ubrique for my "active" schedule. I'm always running around town doing errands, hiking on Sundays, and running/speed walking every evening (rain or shine). Apparently, that's not too normal in this quiet Spanish town...so it draws quite a bit of attention. As such, when preparations began for the 16th annual Ubrique Nutrias Panteneros 11,3 km Run, people immediately assumed I would be doing it. For about a week prior to the race, I was repeatedly asked if I was participating. I said, "no way, are you crazy?! I've never run competitively nor have I ever run 11,3 km in my life." I usually max out at 5 miles (or about 8 km). However, everyone eventually convinced me that I should participate in the race, so I finally signed up.
The Race: I woke up nervous as heck, ate breakfast at 8:00 am, and reported to check in at 9:00 am. The idea of the entire town watching me run was slightly intimidating. By 10:00 am, the horn sounded, and about 450 people took off running, ready for the 11,3 km route throughout Ubrique (which, I need to add is in the middle of the mountains, and thus is quite hilly!). I started at the very end of the pack, as I didn't see the need to be trampled to death. Several hills later, and 01:01:42 after the horn, I crossed the finish line!!! I had maintained a pretty constant rhythm, but towards the very end, found myself pretty tired. 11,3 km is no easy run. All in all, I came in 401st (but was ALMOST 398th)out of over 430 runners. Not bad for my first race (and being one of only about 40 women).
After the Race: After showering, I decided to stay and watch the awards ceremony. I wasn't paying much attention, but immediatly perked up when I heard a botched pronunciation of "Ashley Beck." I asked the people next to me what they were calling names for, and was told they were listing the winners of the race and the various categories. Thirty minutes later, I was standing on a podium, receiving a trophy from the mayor of Ubrique! I came in third place in my category (women ages 18 - 34). It was quite the experience. :)
The Next Day:(1) My students -- ASHLEY! We saw you! You ran in the race, didn't you?! (2) My coworkers -- ASHLEY! Great Job! Congratulations! We heard you won a trophy! (3) Friends -- ASHLEY! We saw you running! Nice job! (4) Strangers -- You're not too bad a runner, you know?! Congratulations on your race! In other words, the whole town saw me running; students, parents of students, coworkers, friends, and everyone else. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but coming in 401st doesn't exactly give me bragging rights. But hey, now I'm even more famous for being the "odd foreigner that always runs." And, apparently I'm "not too bad." :)