(The race was set up as a down-and-back, so the start and finish line were in the same place)
Don't worry that's all about to change.
And now....a series of unflattering running pictures.
Me on the other hand, I'm all splaying arms and legs and flinging hair.
In my case however, I might be doing it a little too well...
Later I found the results online. My final time: 54 min. and 7 sec. That´s a PR! (It´s also my only record, lol, as this was my first 10k). And not to mention, that´s a 8:45 min. mile average, 15 seconds faster than my goal average!! Not bad for only 3 real weeks of training (my previous illness knocked me out of training for about 2 weeks). Needless to say, I was thrilled!! I also found out that I placed 7th out of the 49 women who were running the race. Not too shabby at all :D
For more info on the Las Terrenas 5k/10K click here.
And that´s when our troubles started. (Important note, it was precisely 12:00 p.m. when we left the Pastelería to catch our 12:15 bus.) First, we were given bad information about where the bus to Santiago would pick us up (can´t say this was super surprising, you already know my thoughts on Dominican directions). After almost an hour of waiting, it was quite obvious that we had missed our bus. We talked with a few more locals and found out there were no more direct buses to Santiago, which meant we would have to take a bus to the town of Sanchez and find a connecting Santiago bus there. Wonderful.
Well we got to Sanchez without a hitch but had to wait another 45 minutes for our connecting bus.
Finally on board, we settled in for the 3-3 1/2 hour ride.
About a half our into the trip, the bus pulled off to the side of the road. Apparently there was something wrong with the tire.
"Ok," I thought, "We´ll change the tire and be on our way."
I´m not sure exactly what all was going on outside, lots of banging around and cars stopping to see if they could help, but it was taking FOREVER.
An entire hour and fifteen minutes later, we pulled shakily onto the road again.
Once more I told myself, "Alright, it´s all good, we´re on our way now."
Once more, not to be.
Not 15 minutes after we left, the back tire was smoking!
We rapidly pulled off to the side. Our bus driver and cobrador (the guy who collects the money) leaped out of the bus and scrambled to find water to throw on the fire. This was not a good sign.
Another 15 minutes of dousing the tire with water, and we pulled back onto the road again.
15 minutes later, we were back on the side and the tire was smoking again!!
The driver and cobrador ran through the same motions.
We went through this disastrous little routine (driving 15 minutes, spending 15 minutes putting out the fire on the tire) 2 more times. You can imagine we weren´t getting anywhere fast. In reality, I´m not sure how our driver kept managing to find sources of water. Once we used the hose from a car wash. Another especially comical time, we found a roadside well. The driver worked frantically to pump the water while our chubby cobrador filled up, I kid you not, a water bottle with the running water and rushed hurriedly to throw it at the bus. It reminded me of the circus scene from Dumbo, when the clowns are trying to put out the fire in the burning building with a leaky pale of water.
Finally, the bus driver pulled off to the side and said we all had to get off and wait for another bus, ours wasn´t going to make it to Santiago. (I´m not sure why we were doing this now and not an hour ago, but possibly it was because our driver finally could no longer find water).
Honestly though, I was happy to get off that bus.
But he never did.
After 10 minutes of waiting I looked around to see what was going on. At this point I didn´t think anything could surprise me.
I was wrong.
I realized that the new driver and the old driver were now conspiring to tie our broken guagua onto the back of our new guagua with a rope.
Were they really serious right now?
Anybody could see this was a bad idea.
When they had the rope knotted as sufficient as possible our bus driver hopped in and put the guagua into gear. At a snail´s pace we crept into life. But just barely. We couldn´t possibly travel at more than 25 mph while hauling a giant broken bus behind us--and we still had 2 hours of travel ahead of us. At this pace, it was going to turn into more like 4.
Once, the rope partially snapped and we had to stop to re-tie the broken bus onto the back.
The second time it happened, we were near a gas station. The drivers hopped out to discuss the situation with all the bystanders at the gas station and they made several more failed attempts, over the course of the next half hour to re-attach the bus. In the end, they decide to throw in the towel and leave the broken bus behind. The first good decision made all day.
We arrived back in Santiago at 9:00 p.m. You may remember our adventure started at Noon. That´s 9 hours of traveling!!
I could have flown back home to Illinois in that amount of time.
On the bright side, I suppose things could have been worse. I mean, we can always be grateful we weren´t being chased by dinosaurs....