I attempted to get to Buenos Aires last year with Kevin and bad weather in the Dallas area prevented us from being able to catch our connecting flight. This year Buenos Aires was the location for the Marathon Globetrotters‘ Annual Meeting. Each year we pick a marathon, generally on a different continent so as to spread around the proverbial love. Members of the club vote on several possible options for that continent, and whether or not they believe they will be attending. As the finance director for the club I wanted to make certain I was at the annual meeting, particularly one in my back yard. Miami is for all intents and purposes a Latin American capital that happens to be located in an Anglophone nation.
This time I didn’t take my chances with a connecting flight in Dallas. My work wife, Fatma, kindly dropped me at the airport after work, and after a short 9 hour flight I was on the ground in Ciudad de la Santísima Trinidad y Puerto de Nuestra Señora la Virgen María de los Buenos Aires (City of the Holy Trinity and Port of our Lady the Virgin Mary of the Good Airs) hereafter–understandably I think–simply BA. Once on the ground I hopped a taxi to an AirBnB that Andy and his friend McCoy had rented for a long weekend.
Once I’d gotten a quick shower we went off to grab lunch before heading to the expo to pick up our kit. Lunch was at a delightful Italian bistro. Our meal was not quick, but prepared with great care, and the service was excellent. A brief word about payment in BA: Argentina has a massive inflation problem. The target level of inflation in the United States for our central bank, the Federal Reserve, is 2% per year. Inflation in Argentina runs at over 50% for the last 12 months. This kind of devaluation poses immense practical problems: If you are a professional worker, you cannot wait for an annual review to get a cost of living adjustment they are frequently done 2-4 times per year. Also, many businesses (particularly taxis) do not accept credit cards because payment at the end of the month will significantly diminish their earnings. To an economy suffering from runaway inflation cash is king, however holding their notes is foolish too. Anyway as a result there was a lot of running to the ATM to get cash all weekend long.
After lunch I headed off to the expo to pick up my race kit, and then immediately to the Marathon Globetrotters meeting where we discussed the future of the club, annual meetings, challenges and opportunities faced by the organization, and generally got to know one another. After we had dinner at a pizza joint. Dinner is quite late in Argentina, so technically we showed up before they started serving food. I just had a beer and caught another taxi back to Palermo with Sandy, a fellow American Globetrotter headed to dinner in the same neighborhood.
I had dinner with Andy and McCoy and headed to bed to begin the race Sunday morning. Andy and I got another taxi to the start of the race in the park, and happened to walk up to a group of Globetrotters posing for a photo. Afterward we went to find the port-a-potties. In the dark I somehow missed a tie-down for a tent and face-planted, knocking the wind out of myself. I got up, and dusted myself off. That was uncomfortable but I’d survive. We headed for the corrals according to the letter on our bibs, which was strange. Andy, who is generally a sub-4 hour marathoner was in corral G, and several friends who we knew to be in the 6-hour range were in front of us. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the corral assignments, and eventually we realized it didn’t matter much because there was no separator between corrals. Sure you had to enter in section G, but you could walk right up to C. Ah, Latin America…
After the anthem the crowd took off, and for the first few miles we ran through the parks alongside the municipal airport. By mile 6 we ran alongside the Obelisco, and by mile 7 we passed through the Plaza de Mayo. It was here I made my second big mistake. I pulled out my phone to take some more pictures, and promptly stopped looking at the ground. I planted my foot into a hole and went down, HARD. It sent my phone skittering, I had skinned my knees, elbows, and hands, and I would later find I had either pulled or torn a pectoral muscle trying to catch myself. From there on I took far less pictures, and I found I could not run hard for fear of breathing too deeply and causing myself significant pain.
Most of the last few miles I ran with Lee, a South African visiting for the marathon. We chatted about all sorts of things until in the last 5k or so I just couldn’t keep up with his pace and I had to let him go. Once we finished Andy and I took another taxi back to the AirBnB, went for lunch and I had to work for about an hour or two until it was time to leave. Sadly I did not get much time at all to sitesee with the exception of the race, which was something of a disaster for me. Still it’s a new country, and my 4th in South America (Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and now Argentina). It seems I need to look into Peru and/or Bolivia next.
From BA I had to fly back to Miami and immediately catch my flight to Germany. I would be working from my company’s German office for the week in preparation for the Berlin Marathon the following weekend.