Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coyote 2 Moon- Corrections

Boy did I get in trouble. I want to clarify somethings about my race report, i hope it didn't come through as a whiner, I just wanted to tell you my experience. Never did I intent to make anybody that organized or volunteered at C2M responsible for what happened. On the contrary, I received plenty of emails from Chris the RD to be prepared for, and I am quoting him, CaCa weather.

There was a couple of things that Chris called me on, and eventually even cost me to be penalized on the final results.
Is not Coyote 2 Moons but Coyote 2 Moon, no s.
Is not a race but and event, although i disagree with that, I am sure if you are in the back you will think of it as an event if you are in the front you will think is a race.

The loot bag was not full of irrelevant paraphernalia, although i am still waiting on his response on the meaning on the stir stick from Best Western, two 2009 agendas and pamphlets such as Elvis Presley's impersonator show in Vegas.

and the most important clarifications was that they were aware of my absence, I think that Chris and everybody involved did an amazing job at getting everybody down from the ridge safely. When i finally was able to find help my main concern was to notify that i was safe, and when I approached a volunteer at an aid station later he told me he had no knowledge that there was any talk of asking about any stranded runner, so there my understanding that they had not realized yet that i was not at any of the 3 operating aid stations on top of the ridge, i was not surprise or anything, given the sudden nature of the weather and the amount of people that needed to be looked after.

I am sure that everybody is wondering how can i even get lost, I made many mistakes and i was aware of the risks, nothing too dangerous, but I have always respect nature, i knew i was safe, I can run for along time so keeping warm was not a problem but is the outdoors after all and i never take it lightly, the best thing is to thing ahead of what the problems might be, in my case, when I worried is when the wind became to strong and i was worried that if it picked me up and send me flying they will not have found my that easy and if i get hurt and became unable to move that could be trouble.
Rule number one, always know when to turn around.

I also shared with Chris that I felt fully responsible, i knew i was ill prepared, i was already struggling at the beginning, some people might think that i had no place there but think that i do, i wanted to be there, i will probably never have a life that is optimum for that kind of adventure, by choice, my lifestyle is 100% based on my priorities, I could do more but that would mean that i spend less time doing the things that my kids need from me, is their time now, not mine, in a few more years they will be gone and then i can pursue my passions fully.
But as hard as it will be i still want to participate such events, I have the feeling that my life will always have these kind of obstacles, I lived for my family, but i much rather be there for them and push through a race or a climb than give up on that kind of lifestyle. I am also aware of my limitations so I am careful about not finding myself in a situation where I have to cut my arm to free myself.

Bottom line, I highly recommend C2M. Coyote 2 Moon is for anybody that is looking for a challenge, elite or not will feel at home.C2M, is a lot of fun but the course is challenging enough for anybody even at the elite level, so don't skip it if you are serious about other well know races like WS.
The volunteers are nicest and most dedicated people I have ever met on an event, I mean, one of them gave me his socks so i could continue, they wanted me to continue as much as I did, they didn't have to care but they did.

I left the original post, everybody experiences things differently,I want you to read both sides of the story, also it reflect the chaos on my brain that usually happen after something like that, and trust me, this is not the last time you will find me in a chaotic state again, Ironman here I come!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Coyote 2 Moons race report

Well, this one is for the books. This year’s C2M race is one to remember for anybody that participated. Sat night at midnight the race director cancel the race due to unsafe conditions when a blizzard and high winds. The RD had the daunting task of getting everybody down the ridge safely. Organizers and volunteers were so busy trying to keep the shivering runners warm scattered in 3 different aid stations that nobody realized I was missing, lost and desperately tying to find shelter.

Pre race activities included an evening of bowling and if you wore the best costume could earn you bonus points, the picnic had us all singing, fail to join in the fun and you earn boner points, it was amazing watching such serous runners like Karl Metltzer so relaxed bowling in a costume just days before that race. Make no mistake; the race is competitive and very challenging. The race package included great quality items such a Patagonia jacket but the majority of the items on the loot bag were useless items such a stir stick from a cheap hotel bar, last year’s calendars, or irrelevant pamphlets from places that aren’t even in the area .

I started on the M3 group; we start from slowest to fastest with the intention that everybody finishes in a 4hr window. My start time was Friday at midnight, two previous groups first as early as 6pm, while Howard drove to the start and tried to nap for a few hours, I ended up trying to relax back at the room watching my favorite novela Eva Luna .Jack and John kept me company pretending to be interested on the story line when they knew and I knew the only reason why they let me changed the channel was that Latin soap actress are easy on the eye.

Finally at 11:30 I decided to go to the start line at Thatcher School field, It had been raining already, I was dreading it for many reasons, I was hugely undertrained and the weather forecast was calling for a storm Sunday morning so while I stood there in the rain with 10 other runners in the rain waiting for our start and I was already questioning my decision. As soon as they waved us good-bye and we set off I could feel my excitement increasing and I started forgetting about the rain. I stayed behind with Mark and Ty who insisted on calling me Ramona, it was hard to see with all the fog but it helped that the road was wide enough to run chorus line like and all three head torches complimented each other. I found the course challenging in the way that is hardly ever flat, either straight up or down, but not very technical, at least not the first 50 miles. It was fun running together and howling at the moon, a C2M tradition I am told. The 10.9 mile trail to Sisar Canyon was almost without incident, 100 yards from the air station a creek had spilled over the road and form a pond right in the middle, I slipped and fell getting wet, when I arrived to the CP yelling “ my bike, where is my bike” they looked at me wondering what I was I saying, “I didn’t realized it was a triathlon, I done the swim part now I need my bike.”

Next was Topa Aid station on mile 17.2, I started falling behind, the chilly night and wet clothes where a horrible combination, again it was a steep climb ,when I arrived I was mildly hypothermic, I was really disappointed that I could potentially drop out so early, thankfully volunteers were kind, they took my clothes and dried them on the bonfire and they sat me on a warm car wrapped in a blanked, in about an hr I was ready to head out again, with drier clothes and volunteer Matt’s socks.

By the time I was on my way to Rose Valley aid station I could see how far behind I had fallen, I was about two hour behind the group I had been running with, the only good thing was that Canadian Jenn Segger who had started at 3am was smoking the course, Jann is all class, i had the pleasure of going for some Mexican dinner with her and Bruce other Canadian and talented runner.

By the time I reach Topa Aid station and 32.4 miles later the very fast 100 runners such as Karl Meltzer had reach Topa for the first time and where already on their way to Rose Valley aid station, I had started 10 hrs earlier and in no time were going to pass me. As they went by I looked disappointed said, “ what? I am not going to win it?” One of them yelled as he was passing by,” Remember to hydrate and you just might!”

Even though it was a bit warmer I was still feeling a bit cold, and by now I had trouble keeping food or drink, out of nowhere the fastest registered female runner who was wearing a hat with a propeller tap me on the shoulder, as it is a C2M tradition, the fastest and slowest runners wear the hat, I had just been passed by the fastest female making me officially the slowest female on the course so I had to wear the hat, great, the only thing worse now I though is that if I got to Ridge Junction Aid station and I found out that my high school reunion was been held there AND my high school crush was still hot and recently single.

By the time I arrived I was shivering again, I sat there wondering if this time I was going to drop out, I sat there watching the 100K runners who had started Sat morning starting to come through. Again the volunteers went out of their way to warm me up and send me on my way, a few quesadillas later I stood there shivering ready to go when Luis Escobar pronounced “ lets make a vapor barrier out of a garbage bag!” so after 40 minutes wearing a garbage bag and the propeller hat I set out again, “living the dream” I thought. The most amazing thing was that not a single one of us thought “ wait a minute, this is a bad idea, maybe she should just go home” The truth is that while I had been previously been embarrassed because I was so slow, after almost dropping I was determined to finish.

It was back to Rose Valley Aid Station, by now it was raining again, I must have been a sight when I started descending to the next aid station, “ I know” I said when they smiled when I came around “ hard to believe I am still single” by the time I left the aid station the weather started turning for the worse, I was nervous, I had lost my map when I fell on the creek so I was now relying on course markings on the course and anybody that had participated on C2M, course markings are very few. As the weather turned and night came the last two runners who were behind me passed me, two elite runners who were tracking for a record finish, as they passed me I told them that I was know for my amazing negative splits so they shouldn’t write me off as competition so easily. As they passed they told me to turn right at the top of the road and turn left at the trail marking. By the time I go to the top of the ridge it was storming and I had trouble raising my head to see where I was going. I was worry since I was going to an area that I had not gone yet and was worry about missing the turn, after an hour I decided to turn back to Ridge Junction Aid station that I was sure it was the exact opposite direction. For 4 hours I struggle with the wind and the cold, by now I was desperate to find shelter, I decided to turn back to lower ground because the wind was picking up and I was worry that it was going to blow me off the mountain, I also started to hallucinate, I am sure because of the lack of sleep and dehydration, I saw army men on winter fatigues laying on the ground ready for action, the bushes turned into beasts and fought each other, bus stations, kids jumping rope, alligators, the hallucinations were incredibly detail, also fatigue and the cold was making me sleepy so I sang hard to force my brain to wake up, sadly the first song that came to mind was The Wheels on the Bus.

What to do? I needed to make a decision, I was still safe but I couldn’t possibly wait for anybody to come and find me, I didn’t know that they had already cancelled the race but it would have been irresponsible if they had allowed the race to continue. At this point I considered calling for help, I always carry my spot satellite for emergencies and I had my cell phone but I didn’t want to endangered the lives of rescuers unless it was absolutely necessary and at this point things were still under control, plus i had absolutely no idea where i was so it was going to take longer for them to find me that for me to find shelter. it would be an incredible irony that I have been in inhospitable places for races but it will be in California where I would be saved from a winter storm.
The one thing I decided to do was to find a road, Rose Valley Aid Station was at the parking lot of the park, I knew the had dismantled the aid station because we were not scheduled to go back but I notice a couple of guys that were camping, they had stood there watching us go through the gate with amusement, I was hoping that they were still there also there was a bathroom that I could use for shelter. As I started to run downhill the snow turned into heavy rain at lower altitude I knew that if the guys were not there I was in serious trouble, there is no such a thing as i couldn't run to save my life, after running over 50 miles i had no problem running hard, if i could only do that at races!

Fortunately when I got there about 45 min later,I could see two tiny tents, it was almost 1am so they were asleep for sure. For a few seconds I thought about how ridiculous it must look, been awakened by a strange woman wearing a garbage bag and a racing bib.
I told them that I needed help, fortunately Brian and Tony turned out to be Navy officers, they recognized that they needed to act fast, as soon as a stop running I got cold quickly, in a matter of minutes I was slurring my words, the boys took matter as seriously as an official mission.I was out of my clothing again (to clarify I always wear under armor sports underwear that look like biking shorts in case I need to change on a race, but listen to your mother and always wear clean undies) Brian later told me that when I started shaking and my eye rolled back he knew it was serious. They are both trained for medical emergencies so I could not have stumbled upon better help. After a change to dry clothing, water and some food I was feeling better, fatigued but I was still hallucinating so the boys chaperoned me to the race start to notify the RD that I was safe and sound and to pick up my car, then later drove me and my car to my hotel because i was not in driving shape, I am telling you chivalry is not dead, Brian and Tony's wives are very lucky women.

I arrived to my room close to 2am and my roommates arrived about 30 min later, one by one, Harold, John and Jack were all taking turns with the stories, Harold was showing signs of hypothermia as well, apparently I talked lengthy but made little sense.
The next morning we woke up to the damage, fallen trees everywhere, most of C2M crew vehicles had to be left at the ridge, the roads disappeared on the mud slides and they called a group to volunteer to bring down a radio guy who was unable to get down by himself, I looked at my shoes quickly but Harold was not as fast as I was and ended up helping bring him down.

Overall, there were no serious injuries, amazing considering that there were about 100 participants and some of them where caught by the storm wearing nothing but shorts and singlet. There was talk of this been the last of C2M’s edition since last year weather created havoc as well, not sure I agree with that. Trail races especially ultras always carry a degree of danger, is part of the allure, if I was somebody that didn’t want that kind of risk I would sign for a road race. Besides from the incredible discomfort the fact that I managed to remain calm tells me that this is were I belong, sure there were times while I was running wild to try and find help that I thought, “damn, I need to quit doing this to myself” but I knew that that was not possible anymore, at dinner last night, sharing a bottle of wine with Harold and Jack the talked turned to races that we had done and I could feel my heart rate go up with excitement at the talk of some races that I haven’t done but are on my bucket list, they don’t call it passion for nothing.

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dream big

In a few days I will be running Coyote 2 Moons. I am unreasonably nervous, i couldn't put it into words, the dreading feeling, until I had a conversation with Jack who is generously helping me with the logistics and letting me crash at his hotel room floor " if you find space" apparently i am not the only ultrarunner wanting to save money. He was asking me about my reluctance and I realized I felt like a plane crash survivor, I was feeling guilty for wanting to continue with my life knowing that Charlie is not free. Yes, I had nothing to do with it yet I feel terribly guilty. I have wanted to just lay low and work at a Starbucks for a while but it seems I am not good at it. It seems crazy after I yelled to the world that I wanted to do something about my son's condition how could I back away now? the great thing about taking some time off to sort things out was that it was a wonderful time to take care of the things that where neglected, having moved to Vancouver proved to be right,as hard and time consuming as it turned out to be, my kids could not be happier or healthier, I get to see my sister Muneca everyday and her family, scheduling things with her help is so much easier that I wonder how did I ever do without her. like now, I just get to leave and she takes over until my ex-husband comes to town for the kids for spring break.

Once I made up my mind I could feel the excitement building up, in a few days I will be with some awesome people that I have never met on an amazing adventure, the joys, the pain I will savour it all.
I am starting a series call dream big, I want my life back, all of it, I am going to stand tall and admit that I want more from life and I am not afraid to go for it. I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to live this life, a life of adventure that I have learned to love and refusing it will be ungrateful to the universe that had so generously offered to me in the first place.
I can see my life clearly, I will probably not die wealthy I like love my family too much to watch my bank account get bigger and them struggle ,I find it weird that some people just write a check to a charity get a tax receipt and dont really take the time to see if there is a niece who can't afford school tuition or a sibling who lost a job, I might not have a big bank account when I die but I will die as someone who lived fully and I hope my kids follow suit.

For C2M surviving will be the main plan, I haven't run 100 miles without stopping since Iron Horse Ultra in 2009 so it will be smart to stay conservative and see what happens. Howard is in my start group and I will be shadowing him all the way, Howard finish shy of 30hrs last year and he said it was hard.
I am starting to stay awake at night dreaming of what else I want to accomplish, it feels so good to have dreams and goals again.
So my question to you is, if I gave you permission to dream big what will it be?
"Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined."- Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coyote 2 Moons part 1

I close my eyes and think, when i open them i am afraid to think again. So many things going though my head. I didn't think this was important to share, even i get tired of me, but if i don't write i will not go to sleep and i am tired.. I am still trying to figure out if i should go to Coyote 2 Moons or not. I been working hard to find a balance,is not easy, after all the last few years have been all about extremes. I am trying to be responsible and be home more for my kids, and it;s working, grades are going up and the house is livable even if i die a little everyday looking at the world continue, mountains to be conquered,races to be run, but i truly believe that things can happen i just have to be patient. It will be a tragedy if i become in love of trying to save the world and forget about my kids dreams, right now the most important thing for me is to make sure my kids dreams and hopes do come true, just like any other parent on an endless schedule driving to and from lessons and homework. My kids are happy, I count the days until my next race, or continuously day dream about my next adventure, I am so grateful for that, not sure what i would do if i didn't have that.

Today I found out i failed part of my final, not to worry she said, the truth is that with so much going on is no surprise, taking classes, training, kids and constantly traveling to see Charlie was difficult for me to concentrate on my classes and had to postpone quite a few to accommodate my trips to the USA, since i broke my hand and the programs had to be written by hand i had to wait until the last minute to submit them and they were not my best job, but i had to submit them and i missed several key parts of the programs, and now it might be to late the deadline to get it done has past, i can do a better job for sure but i have to start all over again since there is a time limit to finish the program. Sometimes I feel like my life is one giant game of chutes and ladders. After the call I sat on the car thinking, "What happened?"" I even had my wedding dress picked" I know that true life is for better or for worse but i have seen plenty of for worse, i am so ready for the better part.
Is no use trying to quit, i have tried before and i just delay things, I quit acting before when i found myself stressed and unable to manage the pressure of such industry, i have tried to reinvent myself many times over, to take college classes, to try to be taken seriously but i should never worry about what other people think and I should have follow my passion. Here I am now, working as an actor again, i think is ironic that i didn't think that i was pretty enough to be in the industry, and now i found myself nocking on doors and having the very same door that i closed before opening, now that my hair is going grey and the wrinkles stay even after i have stopped smiling.

But i guess maybe i needed to take a long detour, so i could be ready for my life. The wonderful thing about been older is that i completely refuse to quit, I want this life so badly that i am willing to wait for as long as necessary, more than the acting, adventure is where i feel at home, so yes, i am not sure how i will manage but i will make it to Coyote 2 Moons 100 mile ultra and ironman, Tx and i will also ride across Canada this summer, life owes me that, I am a good mother and i deserve to do the things that are positive and make me happy. After all is for my kids own good, the reason why they are dreaming big is because they feel safe at home, safe to dream big and nobody will laugh at their dreams no matter how unattainable they might seem.

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
Christopher Reeve