Wednesday March 11, 2010
I am sitting on an airplane heading from Seattle to Jacksonville, Florida. It’s a long flight and I don’t like being ”disconnected”. Earlier today, I was watching the Racing the Planet website and there was Norma’s name in the scroll. I had to catch my breath because by the time I could really read it they were showing the names of competitors that had withdrawn from the race. I patiently waited for the scroll to start over. As I am watching the monitor, my brain is spinning because I don’t want to see her name in the dreaded “DNF” (did not finish) column. Okay there she is again. It says Norma Bastidas comments that “today’s stage is like being a three year old playing in the mud.” Phew!!
Okay, not only is she okay but she is cracking jokes. I am relieved for sure.
These races become really interesting after the first few days. A lot of people start dropping out. Day 4 is usually very tough because the body is very beaten up by now. On top of that, racers have been sharing a tent with 7 other people, mostly strangers. Sleep is usually pretty restless. Most racers try to pack very lightly which means not bringing the thick sleeping pad or the cushy sleeping bag. In Norma’s case, she had nothing at all for comfort since her baggage was lost. Everything she is wearing and eating is borrowed. Well technically only the clothing and equipment is borrowed. She will return those items after the race. The food? She gets to keep that.
The other reason that Day 4 is tough is because it is the day before the dreaded “long day” . Day 5 is the 50 mile day. I have always said that Day 5 is the crux of the race. You can gain a lot or lose a tremendous amount of time. But for now, Day 4 is the focus. I will check later from Jacksonville and see if I can get an update. I never heard from Norma yesterday which tells me either that she had a tough day or they had technical problems.....or both.
I just finished a speaking gig in Jacksonville Florida for Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Gate River 15k. That was fun but the best news was that I had an e mail from Norma waiting for me when I finished. I am so happy. Here is what she had to say.
“hey baby. i am still working hard and keeping my strength. i had a hard night last night but after drilling my toenail to relieve the pressure my toes where fantastic! i ran relatively well, i was ok but had a bit of tummy issue and couldn't eat after checkpoint 2 half way, but i could hydrate so i was ok i just lost a bit of steam. today was 42k long and tough, the salt flats where hard to run on my thin shoes but walking was fine. i lost my other toenail today but it didn't hurt as much since there was no sand to fill my shoes to make them tighter. i almost broke my ankle coming after the sand dunes and into the river when i stepped on what i though was sand and it was rock and i slipped all the way down but managed to catch myself before the fall. i had to spiderwoman my way up the rock face, i am happy for all the rock climbing lessons i took. other than that i had a good day finishing 47th. i am feeling great good spirits but i am not taking things for granted, out here things can go terribly wrong fast so i will be careful and not do anything foolish.”
I love that she says that she will not do anything foolish in the same paragraph that includes the statement “I drilled my toenail to relieve the pressure”. Is it any wonder that I love this woman? Tomorrow is the long day, 50 miles. I will keep track and post some results when I have them. This would be a really good time to email Norma and give some encouragement. Just go to www.racingtheplanet.com and go to the drop down menu under race coverage. It is easy and just takes a second. She would love to hear from as many people as possible.
And finally this from Norma,
“please remind my kids to look after the cats”