Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

So, I am sitting at this damn computer waiting for the cold rain to stop. Yesterday's run was cold. Snowing, hailing and just miserably cold. My hands were so frozen that when I stopped running and got into my car, the pain in my hands was UNBEARABLE. It felt so good to have my hands feel normal again. Today, the rain continues. Suz and I have a tentative plan of running when the rain eases up. So, I sit here. My run yesterday was a good one despite the weather. I've needed a feel good run.

Today I get a MRI on my left shoulder. Years ago I had a psycho patient yank my arm and proceeded to tear my rotator cuff. I never had surgery and my shoulder has been okay. Not perfect, but I was okay with it. Two days before I left for Costa Rica, my dog Jada ran into the back of me on a rocky downhill, and I put my bad shoulder down to protect my fall and, OUCH! I thought my left arm was broken. Now, I think I have re torn my rotator or something in there. The cortisone shot that I got last week has not touched the pain and I am anxious to get feeling better. My Doctor doesn't want me to use my left arm until we know what's going on.

On the positive side of things, my knee is finally getting back to normal. That has been a long haul! Always something. This getting old thing really sucks!

I am looking forward to long, warm days. I'm missing the hot, humid weather of Costa Rica. I love the heat and could live in that environment eternally. The weather here is cold and rainy, and the dark sky is really quite a downer. I am going to visualize a warm ocean with the hot sand between my toes. I'll see how that works for me. Happy weekend, friends!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

“To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals--this alone is worth the struggle.” -William Penn

The Challenge at The Coastal Challenge

Sitting at my computer, reflecting on my experience at TCC, it is hard to put into words the experience that I had. Of course I am disappointed that I was unable to complete the race. I ran 4 of the 6 days and was not feeling great for 3 of those days. It's just the way it is. Nothing I could have done about it. Several runners were down with vomiting, diarrhea, fever and body aches. It was crazy to see the chaos that this illness brought. I think I had it mild compared to many people. So disappointing and so hard to except.

The experience was great despite all the problems Tamara and I had with these flu like symptoms. Lot's of laughs and tears. The people we met, the places we ran and saw, the animals, the race.....priceless.

I'll never forget the rugged Rainforest trails, navigating through mud, vines and beautiful plants and greenery. I'll never forget the animal that hissed at me and spit either fluid or air, (maybe both), on me and caused me to scream into an already loud Jungle. Swimming with my pack on as the waves of the ocean pulled me down steam. The huge bug in my drink, was it a crab? The night we used our head lamps to look for crocodiles and we found them. Their big eyes illuminated by our lights. The stars that were so bright and clear in a perfectly perfect sky. I'll never forget the people. The Costa Rican hospitality. The CR runners that would so graciously offer a hand to me, while racing, when the footing was slippery and the water so crazy. Making sure I got out of a precarious position safely. The European runners with their skimpy booty shorts....funny! The coffee!! The beautiful birds and the incredible beaches with not a soul on them. The warm, bath like water that soothed my aching body and restored my soul. And lastly, the wonderful friends I met. Gillian and Martin, Alec and Jorge. Best friends forever.

A stage race like this is more of an adventure race than just a running race. Many different experiences than you would ever find in an average race. I think it is much more difficult than running a 100 miler. The day after day of difficult footing and heat and humidity. Our meals were made for us. Last time I enjoyed the eggs, rice, beans and fruit. This time it was hard to comprehend eating those meals with an upset stomach. Everyday it was basically the same meal, only a different combination of the same food. Rice for dinner and rice pudding for dessert. What is tolerable one day is totally intolerable the next. Foot care is prudent in the jungle. When your feet are wet continuously, you must take every precaution that you can to prevent blisters. Pre taping is a must. My drymax socks worked perfectly and I am happy to report that I had no blisters at all. Keeping hydrated is also very important. Good fueling and taking electrolytes are a number one priority. Being dehydrated or low on electrolytes could cost you the race or worse. You must keep on your toes in a race like this. Always thinking and making decisions. Stage races are great. I think I like them. No, I think I LOVE them. Sickness got me this time, but I will be back to do another one. Life is too short, don't waste it. PURA VIDA.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 4: The Revenge of the Borucas

Today's course is titled "The Revenge of the Borucas" because of its location in what used to be the home to the Borucas Indians. The roller-coaster route is difficult and some say that it's a twisted version of trick or treat.

Earlier this morning many of the runners experienced The Revenge of the Borucas personally as they possibly drank polluted water that has made them very sick. By the first Aid Station, many couldn't go on... and officially dropped out, including Kelly and her running friend, Tamara.

Of course, she feels sad and depleted, but she experienced three great days of running and if she feels well enough by tomorrow, she and Tamara will join those on the Adventure Run.

Kelly feels deeply grateful and rediculously lucky to have had this kind of experience woven into her soul. I can hardly wait to see the photos.

I am sincerely wishing all the runners improved health in a hurry.

I wish you strength. I wish you hope. I wish you relief. I wish you a perfect new day.

love, Shawn

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A letter from Kelly "I'm Alive and Well"

Hi! This is Shawn, Kelly's sister.

It's tough to write a blog for her when I have so little knowledge to report.

The Coastal Challenge website has so little information as you know if you've gone there to visit.

But I do know this.
I know Kelly is feeling totally free and totally connected to the earth and god and the sky and the jungle. I can only imagine, at the end of each day of running her heart out, as the rushing waters wash off the mud and sweat, she must think back to her day and feel completely humbled and honored as a guest in that sacred land. One of those spiritual mystical times that words have no ability to describe.

I would like to share with you an email Kelly wrote yesterday afternoon to family and friends:

January 31, 1:00 pm

Hey everyone,

I just finished my second day and finished 4th woman. It was very hot and humid today and the climbs were brutal. The end was a swim across water at the beach. A beautiful way to finish this stage. But first off, I want to tell you about day 1.

The start was at 10am and was already baking hot.

I felt quite good though and finished at the Rafiki Lodge.

The Rafiki Lodge is set in the middle of the Rainforest and it is such a beautiful place to stay. The bugs were terrible last night though and as the evening went on it only got hotter and more humid. I had to laugh thinking about you, Matt, you would of literally died last night. It was so flippin hot. I even found myself complaining about it.

One of the Costa Rican guys told us to make sure we keep the tent zipped up to prevent any snakes from getting in. It did not keep the bugs out though and they swarmed my face all night.

It was a cold night and without anything warm I just about froze to death. Tonight I am borrowing a blanket.

I paid for 5 massages and I just finished my 2nd one. They are the best massages I have ever had.

The dogs here are wild and like to chase you through the villages. I almost got trampled from about 15 horned cows that were running behind me and it was scary because I was on a narrow trail.

Ive taken a lot of pictures, so I think you will all enjoy them.

I am having a wonderful time. I feel totally blessed to be able to be here.

Thanks, Pat, for the tent. It is working out beautifully! I hope you are all doing well. I miss you all very much. Being here and doing this race is just incredible.

I know this email is really jumping around, but I am tired and not able to think very well. I have a lot to say but no energy to say it. I will save it all for when I get home. I love you all!!!


To read what Jen Segger (placing in 2nd at this point) has to say about her experience, you can read about it here. She writes a really wonderful blog describing her experience running the coastal challenge. I tried to comment on her blog, but comments are only open to her team.

Thanks for reading and for supporting Kelly!