Sunday, August 30, 2009
I am back from the Transrockies Run. It was my first time on the race and I can tell you it will not be the last time. This race was like Spring Break for runners.
Nadia and I arrived in Buena Vista, a cool small town and the start of the race. I developed low grade fever on the previous days and found myself being incredible tired. I decided to run anyway since looking at the rooster, the race had big names such as Nikki Kimball, Hal Kroener, Dean Karnazes, Anita Ortiz, there was no chance we could place at all, also Nadia promise she just wanted to have fun. Dean remembered me from Sahara and had a blast catching up. His father is recuperating from a heart attack. he is thankfully doing well now.
From the beginning I struggle, I had trouble breathing, day 1 was 20 miles with 2721 feet of climbing. It was Nadia's first ultra event but it didn't show, she run strong and climbed fast, waiting for me at check points because it was mandatory for us to cross them as a team. I forgot my sleeping bag so I went from bad to worse since the nights can be very cold.
By day two things had changed, Nadia went from thinking "I wonder if I can finish this race to" I can win it!", event though the field had big names, as usual after a few days is anybody's game, as teams bickered and broke and injuries made runners quit ( Dean went home on day 4 with a broken rib) in few short days the top teams where unknown people.
Nadia kept asking me if I wanted to quit after watching me deteriorate but I didn't want to quit, everybody thought she was so sweet since she was concerned, how ever we knew the real reason was that she wanted to trade me for a healthy team member instead, I told her that since she didn't accept that I didn't come to the race a few months ago when i told her after all my races I was going to be both slow and tired, I was taking her down with me as punishment, having both of our names attached to my slow running time. I couldn't run fast at all but it would be incredibly rude for me to stop just because of that, after a few days everybody was suffering from something and some where suffering of more than just a bruise ego from not being able to run fast, specially when we arrived in Leadville, the town is 10,000 feet above sea level. A lot of us suffered from altitude sickness.
I didn't run on day 5 and choose to hike instead, I told Nadia just to run Stage 5 on her own and wait for me at the finish line, we where penalized for that but i knew Nadia was dying to see how fast she could run it. Her ego had suffered enough as she waited for me at every checkpoint.
I had a great time with the teams in the back, after all it was Colorado, the view was spectacular. I have always admire runners on the back as much as the top people, I love joining ultra events and surround myself of amazing talent, but I have found myself on the back more than once and I love the spirit of anybody who decides to take life to the fullest level. That day I hiked with the Japanese female team, one of the team members was Sumie Inagaki 48 hrs Ultramarathon record holder, her friend was slow but she came to spend time with her regardless, also on the back was the Old Goats Team, two 70 + year old guys who had a fantastic time.
It was only the last day of the race that I felt great and I decided to run hard, I knew Nadia wanted to place top 3 for at least a stage so we went for it, we came short and crossed 4th but had a blast chasing the other teams.
Even though i was very sick, the race was so much fun, I mostly stayed at my tent but it was great watching my best friend have the time of her life, she became the race's it girl. Every night she would come back to the tent after hanging out with everybody at the campfire and we would chat until late laughing and giggling like little girls at a summer camp. We developed code names for almost everybody, specially the guys at the camp, Plan B was a guy who run shirtless almost everyday and casually hinted to me he was single, Sleeping Bag was a guy who offered his sleeping bag to me when he overheard I was missing mine, one catch, he offered his with him on it, before long i figure he was married so he became married sleeping bag, Fastimes at Ridgemont was a guy who kept asking me to stop by to check his trailer everyday forgetting he had asked me the same thing the day before.
The race was fun but the top teams pulled fantastic times, this is after all a serious race. Ultradistance runners have a reputation of being top athletes and party animals at the same time. Nadia plans on coming back next year and try for top team, she asked me to run it but I asked my sister Muneca to joined me next year instead, she is not much of a runner but she is fit, I get enough satisfaction running my own races, there are still lots on my to do list, most of them are races that are either on nobodies radar or way to insane for anybody to want to do. TransRockies Run is a race where I get to watch somebody who has never though could do it accomplish something incredible, I got more pleasure watching Nadia smile wide like a kid everyday than any medal I received. This is something I learned from leaving in Japan, Buddha's teaching said “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”