Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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.


olga said...

Kel, sorry to hear you got sick. But you're right, it IS about experiences, especially when we've done already so much, nothing to prove. Recover well, the season is getting started:)

Jen said...

For not knowing how to put this into words, you did very well! What an amazing experience. I was there with you. xoxo

Julie B said...

Wow, what an incredible experience. That is what this is all about , isn't it. What a great treat to be able to experience this part of the world in this manner. Thank you for sharing with us. Recover well!

Sarah Lavender Smith said...

Hi Kelly,
I heard about the experience through Tamra and just posted her Q&A about it on my blog if you're interested. You both amaze me--not just your physical endurance, but your attitude. You made the best of what sounds like an extremely challenging situation. I'm sorry it didn't work out as you hoped. Onward!

mj said...

Nice experience. I love the story you have. I approve that life is too short, we don't have to waste it. We should do what are the this that made us happy.

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