Tuesday, November 4, 2008

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu

Wow. what intense 10 days. Thanks to my brother Carlos in Mexico who did and amazing job of keeping up with my blog.
I arrived yesterday and the memories of pain and discomfort are already distant, instead memories of the amazing people I met, the fantastic race course, the feeling of pride after finishing the race remain. Just like Simon and Yukako said back at our tent when I called them "idiots" because we where all in pain and trying to settle for the night after the 100k run, they both had run similar race in the past. " unfortunately Norma you too will forget the pain tonight and remember only the fun stuff"

I ended up finishing 46th overall, 6th female and 1st in my age group, i really didn't said much when they gave me my trophy. I really wasn't expecting to win anything, I was more in a survival mode.

So, how tough it really was? It was tough for may reasons, one being the distance itself was daunting, the heat made it very tough as well but to me the hardest part was the isolation. I talked to my kids only once on the phone, the time change and the fact that the areas are so remote and we had no access to phone lines or Internet made it impossible to keep in touch with loved ones. Except for the daily email I sent, I had no way of communicating at all. Food was a major issue as well, dehydrated food isn't exactly a delicacy, everyday we will lay in our tents and talk about food cravings " food porn" as one of the guys used to describe it.
the course itself was hard as well, running on sand was incredibly tiring and everyday we weren't sure what to expect, the race is always different so even the runners who had done it before had no idea of what to expect day to day and even after the morning briefing we found out that an easy leg wasn't easy or a hard one wasn't hard so it was emotionally hard because it made you feel isolated, I remember thinking if this is suppose to be easy and I am struggling, I might no have what it takes?

But at the end all that matters is the amazing way it changed my life. I got to be in one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the world, everyday waking up to a different majestic landscape. I got to spend one week with a select group of individuals that are inspiring and motivating. When I arrived I couldn't wait to meet Dean Karnazes, and it was amazing for sure, he is every bit what I imagine him to be, classy, graceful, positive, amazing but when looked around so where the other 155 runners.I had to honour to talk to some amazing individuals. Ryan and Nina the overall winners where amazing and inspiring to watch, such amazing athletes, others had amazing stories, mothers lost to cancer,husbands that where living with brain injuries, people that wanted to help complete strangers because they felt a duty to make a difference in the world. Looking around I couldn't help to feel blessed to have known this individuals and to have the honour to share a week of my life with them.

the el Faohur oasis

Nina from Germany and I

All I remember now are the laughs in our tent, hugging each other after a tough day, waking up to a beautiful sunset, the first time a saw a majestic sand dune, the village kids that came to our cheer us and ultimately sell pop and chips on our last night in our camp, watching Onoh the blind runner cross the finish line, finishing by the pyramids, my fist bite of pizza after the race, the sensation of water on my firs shower after 7 days in the desert, my first latte' at the airport in Cairo... the list will go on and on.

Tent 7!

Dean and I

Simon and I at the tent

Ono the blind runner and his pacer

John, Lynn and I

the bathrooms

the finish line!

the Canadian team

Ryan from South Africa-the overall winner

Dean and I

I will start training for Brazil Monday, Ray is sending me the training plan for the next couple of weeks. he told me not to excerzise this week and to eat as much as I want to which is good because I am tired and don't feel like going for a run yet and I am starving so it works for me.

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”Ralph Waldo Emerson


Peter Lubbers said...

Once again, great job!
Those are the biggest race bibs (and medals, for that matter) I have ever seen!
Rest up now so you can start training for Brazil!

Éber Valentim said...

hi!here in Brazil 135 also will be great difficulties,you look!
congratulations on Saharan and the super result.

Anonymous said...

You are without a doubt one of the most impressive women in the world. Mother of 2 great boys. Ultra-runner extraordinaire. Gorgeous. Three languages or more. Classy. Intelligent. Boyfriend is a twit (but he wrote this - so forgive him!). xoxoAnon.

Jessie Mead said...

Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you I love reading your blog. I first heard about you from the Calgary Neighbor newspaper, and having just run my second Calgary Marathon this summer at 23, I read your blog and it makes me want to make myself strive to be great as well! Thanks so much for the great uplifting and inspiring reading and please keep it up!!!

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