Saturday, March 28, 2009

Enroute to Australia

I am writing from the plane. I am on my way to Australia, in about 4 hours we will arrive, Leslie and myself. This time I am traveling with a crew. Leslie Gerein, an experience ultrarunner and adventurer from Banff and Jason Glass who also supported me in Brazil is waiting in Sydney for us.
From Sydney we will board a Plane to Albury then a two our drive to our final destination Harrietville, Victoria. I will be arriving Friday evening in time for the mandatory meeting and I will be ready to start the race at 4:30am on Saturday, it will not give me any time to write the pre race report.
I can however tell you what I know about the race.
There are 17 people running the race in total, two teams of 7 people each and 3 soloist, one male and two females including me. The race starts at 4:30am on Saturday 28th and ends 48 hours later on Monday 30th at 4:30am
I am as nervous going into this race as I was going into my race in Brazil, Not completing the Yukon race has made me feel unsure that I might not after all have what it takes to finish what I started. To be fair to my kids and to be fair to me, I have to try, I don't want to live my life with regret, that and the fact that my son Karl doesn’t have the choice of quitting. I will want for him to never give up hope that impossible things can be achived with the right attitude and determination.
And what I am bringing to the table on this race, is something that my son has taught me the last two years of him dealing with his disability, an indomitable will.
Alpine Skyrun is a 100 mile race in the Australian alps,, in Bogong national park, last year was the first year the race was held, with three people out of five finishing in about 42 hours.
The race major obstacle for me will be course navigation, I lack navigation skills , I will need to learn to follow the course with a map and compass. Second obstacle will be terrain, according to the race road book, the 100-mile course features six major ascents, including Victoria’s three higher peaks.
The course is designed with six stages and a mandatory overnight camp. The fist aid kit is similar to other races except for the mandatory elastic band for snake bites.
I have read the race manual guide several times before, it was not until now that all of a sudden I am filled with why did I think I could do this? not finishing Yukon has been terrible for my confidence but it did also thought me something very valuable, to be in the moment, ever since i started this journey I have been consume with the preparation for the races, if Ray asked me to run 5 hills I did 7, I read everything available about the races I have chosen, but I the end of the day, it’s not all up to me, since I return, I have enjoyed the company of those around me, my mind no longer drifts to far away places or to the next few training sessions, while I am not taking the races lightly, I am giving myself a break and allowing myself to even enjoy the journey, after all, looking around my life, driving my kids to practices, having coffee with my best friend, driving to dinner with my boyfriend, it’s all there waiting for me when I get back, I already know my destination, and climbing a few mountains to get there doesn’t seem like a great deal, when I will climb, I will look up in the sky, and marvelled that I just got a bit closer to the stars


Anonymous said...

Hello Norma! in behalf of Comic Vision committee from Calgary, we are sending you our love and support.we are with you in spirit sending you strength,and the endurance that you need to fulfill your goal.we believe in you and we know that you are giving it all that you've got. That's what makes you a winner! Enjoy your journey, I'm sure the scenery is beautiful.


Craig Gallagher said...

I have just arrived home from this event and spent many hours on the trail with Norma.

I was invited to get involved about 6 months ago as the managing director of a company supplying IT services to Mind Australia (the mental illness support organisation who host the event). We got involved as a major sponsor and also entered a team.

Now we are an IT company remember, with a team of 8 staff members ranging in levels of fitness and experience in mountain terrain we had some challenges throughout the event. We did have a GPS though and I had meticulously mapped the trail stages and downloaded them onto the GPS to ensure our people did not get lost.

About 10km into the race Norma had to cover some extra ground after a wrong turn, easy to do up there in the dark. This is the point where Norma and our team joined forces for the rest of the event. What impressed me most about Norma was her determination. She was giving our team members a run for their money and we were changing runners every 20 or 30km. Wow!

The 2 stages that I personally did with Norma over the 2 days included what she called her 3pm barrier, probably due to the fact we had a cloudless sky and the sun beating down on us all day. Without fail she would press on through and find energy from within to get over the next challenge. Now while all this is happening Norma never lost her ability to hold a conversation or to have a joke. Norma was always a delight to be with on the trail as she never lost her determination or her sense of humor. She inspired every member of our team.

By far Norma's greatest passion was the reason she was out there in the first place, 777 Run For Sight. She demonstrated to all of us that we weren't just there to punish our bodies and achieve personal goals, but there was a much greater cause behind it all.

Norma, you know we all wish you the best of luck in the rest of your challenges. Keep up the great effort.

Craig, Sam, Justin, Luke, Ben, Adil, Alex and Shez.

Peter Lubbers said...

Best of luck, Norma!
Adding map and compass reading to a 100-miler is tough, but just stay calm and positive. I am sure you can do it.

Norma Bastidas said...

Craig, it was an absolute delight to have met you all. Australia Alpine race will always be my favourite race because of the friendship and support you all showed me