Monday, January 26, 2009

I am Alive!!

Hi, this is Carlos again, Norma is currently sleeping in Cape Town, South Africa waiting to be on a vessel to the russian base in Antarctica to run 100 Km more. By the way J. M. Coetzee one of my favorite writers was born there and He used to teach at the University of Cape Town before moving to Australia. You should read "Disgrace" just to feel the loneliness of been a man in a modern world. Anyway Norma sent us the next post about what happened in Brasil. Curious?:

I survived Brazil! when I was first told about Brazil 135 ultramarathon I believed it but you never know how true it is until you are there. The race took place Friday the 23rd at 8:30 am and I finish the crossing line 50 hours and 20 minutes according to my watch.

What happened in those 50 hours would have show me a lot about real strength comes from within. I was so worry about rain but thankfully stayed dry for the three days of the race. The temperature was hot around 32 degrees but because it was overcast it was bearable.

Matt and Jason drove me to the start line, it felt a lot more like a high school field trip than an endurance event, all the runners and crew hanging around waiting for the gun go off, Brazilian music playing in the background. there where a lot of picture taking and hugging as well. My favourite part of any ultra race is the beginning when I get to talk to other runners, when We all still have the energy or the focus to listen.

The first 18 hours where OK, I saw my crew every 15k or so, I tried to keep a steady pace, something that I thought I could maintain for a long time, I felt just fine, there where a lot of casualties and injuries at the beginning, this is where most of the 10 runners that didn't finish took place, most of the time because they go out too fast.
At about 4:30 am after 20 hours of running I could barely stand up, fatigue just overtook me, It was hard to motivate to keep going when I knew I still had longways to go.
I have never been good at math but at 4am I was negotiating an hour nap with my crew, I told them I had to make my flight and They took their job very seriously, I quickly did calculations in my head to show them I had a window for sleeping.

The next 40 hours where a lot like a nightmare, the race is long and the elevation gain and loss have your lungs burning because is hard to breath or you quad burn from running downhill. Matt and Jason took turn running/walking during the night to keep me awake and to also keep me safe. The next day was a lot harder, I hit many highs and low each peak higher than the last one. There where times where I didn't think I was going to find the strength to continue, specially after that one of my toenails start coming off from the pounding, some parts of the course where so steep you couldn't run any other way but on your tiptoe. I hit my first major low when I reached 100 miles, my toenail was now ripping from my toes and sometimes I thought I was going to pass out from the excruciating pain. The last night I learned the meaning of digging deep, there is no way I was quitting but that didn't make the pain go away, Matt and Jason my support guys where amazing on trying to do their best to keep me on time, they took turns pacing me, not a small thing considering They hadn't run more than 12k in their life, their approached was very non sense, if I stopped I wouldn't make my flight, plain and simple.

After 46 hours of running and in excruciating pain i finally collapsed on a park bench, my support car was not there because of a misunderstanding of meeting point so I just lay there and slept for about 40 minutes.

Now with 17 k to go, I sent the guys to sleep since none of us had sleep much, and I needed them to drive me back to Sao Paolo to get on my flight as soon as I crossed the finish line, this is the leg of the race that I really took the time to admire my surrounding , I was still very tired but something had changed, but now It was real that I was going to finish and that gave me enough energy to keep running, also pacers for other runners left their runner to pace me, all because they loved that I had come to Brazil to the race and brought a donation to the local charity, one more proof that kindness attracts kindness.

I crossed the finish line holding hands with Matt and Jason, I am for ever grateful of those kind words and the arm that they offered when I had a hard time walking on a straight line.

Next is an account of what NOT to do after a race, after a quick visit with the media and gently refusing a marriage proposal from a 12 year old boy, I showered just before jumping on a car then on planes for the next 11 hours.

I am in Capetown right now waiting for my plane to Antarctica, thankfully It was delayed for two days, so I have time to heal before my next 100k. I have received a lot of emails of support, people that I don't even know telling me They are cheering me, and It's working, three years ago when my son was diagnosed I felt so alone, now I know I wasn't, just like Karl said on his first day in preschool, "look mom, look at all the friends I haven't met" I wasn't alone, and I just hope I can somehow make somebody out there who is feeling alone believe that a mountain is not an obstacle, is just a way of getting closer to the stars."

1 comment:

Sunshine Girl said...

Woooohoooo! You did it!