Monday, May 25, 2009

Continent Five, Check

Continent five, check. I am done Namibia race now. It has been a couple of days but I have had limited access to Internet since I have been crossing the country by bus to get back to the capital of Namibia, Windhoek.

The last day of the race went really well, We all woke up with high spirits since We only had 8 kilometres left to the finish line. The race had a staggering start times from slowest to fastest, 3 groups in total, I was in the middle group that had competitors 25 to 110. Of the 220 competitors that started, only 170 where left after 50 dropped out. At 8am We all cheered the first wave of competitors, some who where in considerably bad shape from the last 6 days. at 9 We finally started and it was a mad sprint to the finish line were pizza and beer awaited us, by now after sharing a week of our lives with no other people but ourselves, we had become sort of a family, and a few of us pretended to try and take each other down on the hopes of getting to the town of Luderitz first and get more slices of pizza. It was a beautiful day in Namibia, there running with 80 or so smelly and dirty people along the beach in Namibia, It was hard to remember all the pain We had all endured the last few days, and that's the reason why We all keep coming back. in about 45 minutes I was crossing the finish line and receiving my medal, the whole town of Luderitz had come to the town square to cheer us on. Luderitz is a small German fishing town that began its life as a trading post in the 1883, in 1909 diamonds where discovered in the area and had a short surge of prosperity, today however, diamonds are mostly found elsewhere in Namibia.

Exhilaration follow, to be done such a hard race, to endure hunger, tiredness, I was exhausted from the running but also from barely sleeping everyday, We had the bare minimum with us so we endure sleeping on the floor of a tent, where the floor felt hard and every night I could feel every bone on my body, eating tasteless dehydrated food and surviving on gels or bars. I was glad to be done and I was looking forward to some real food and a shower, I grabbed two slices of pizza and quickly finish them, being a German town , we were offered sausages on a bun, sort of like the ones you get at Spolombu's in Calgary, the sensation of flavours in my mouth was incredible, but then I felt someone tugging on my sleeve, there in front of me was a small child, of about 7 years old. He looked at me with big brown eyes and ask me if He could have a small piece of my sandwich. I felt ashamed at that moment, I was arrogant enough to feel that enduring a week deprivation I felt deserving of praise and a medal, this is the life these people live, never knowing what a pleasure It is to enjoy a daily shower, going to bed with a full tummy every night, all of a sudden the medal felt heavy on my shoulders.

Namibia is a big country, 824,000 square kilometres, It offers deserts, beaches, forests but it has the lowest population density in Africa and the second lowest in the world. this is manly because of the harsh desert conditions and the resultant scarcity of surface water. Namibia has an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and only rains during the summer months and mostly as heavy thunderstorms when the dry rivers flow for a few day or sometimes even for a few hours. Namibian people are use to enduring hardship, and been here has shaped a bit the way I perceive my life, while I doubt I will give up showering everyday, I am not about to move to the mountains and compleatelly give up comforts, I am rethinking the way I live, I no longer wish to live my life with a sense of entiltement, I don't need a haircut every 6 weeks, I am sure I can do without for a few months, while I might enjoy the odd fancy triple, no foam, skinny fancy coffee, i don't need one every day.

I have always heard the frase that when you give you get so much more in return, I am so grateful for the oportunity I have been giving to set my priorities straight, I was invited by one of my charities, Operations Eyesight to become an international Ambassador, Operation Eyesight works in areas of the world such as Africa and Asia , where living conditions affect people visions, while a lot of their work is to provide the operations that the wold poorest need to restore their eyesigh, They also build wells that offer clean water to a villages since they found themselves having to treat the same vison problems year after year since the cause of the problem was the lack of clean water.

In a couple of weeks I am off to my sixth race in China, and I am feelign really good, I paced myself really well to make sure I would be healthy for Gobi and it paid off, becase this race had such an elite rooster everybody went hard at the beginning, I ended up placing 9th female and 62nd overall, well beyond my wildest dream but I guess that's the allure of a sport like this, everybody trully have a chance to shine if you are willing to though It up and work hard.


Anonymous said...

Truly fantastic Norma! You finished so strong...that is just awesome. You sound good too! Congratulations! Rest well....

Sunshine Girl said...

Indeed, continent five, CHECK!
Way to go Norma!

Anonymous said...


It's wonderful to read all your blogs. You are so inspiring and we are all so very proud of your incredible accomplishments. What a huge honor that you have been appointed the ambassador for Operation Eyesight. You deserve it!

Congratulations as well for finishing the run in Namibia. Thank you for continuing to share with all of us as it is wonderful to hear how you are doing.

Keep up the wonderful energy!

Dagmar and the team.

Pedrinho NCBB said...

Hello, congratulations for the blog is very good.
I am your follower.
If you like, follow also the site of my triathlon:
It would be an honor.

Norma Bastidas said...

thanks so much for the words of encouragement. I am off in 10 days to china so it's a mad dash to get everything organized for my next one.