La Fuerza de la Eneria

I remember when I was in Chile, as an exchange student in high school, contributing to a conversation in class about energia. I think we were talking about life after death, souls, heaven, hell—I probably didn’t understand most of the conversation but my contribution in Spanish was La energia no se puede distruir ni crear…siempre exsite. Energy can’t be created or destroyed, it always exists. I think this was my way of being spiritually awakened at age 17—not knowing (still not knowing) what I believe about life and death and souls and spirits. But I do know that I believe in energy; especially the power and effect of positive energy.

 

I decided earlier this week that I was going to run my longest run yet and practice running in the hotness of the day—I need to train in the heat for prepare for the race in February. After chatting with a friend last night about my hopes for today’s run I asked her to send some positive energy my way around 10:30am, about an hour after I planned on beginning, right when I knew I would need it. She agreed and said she’d send it for sure!

9:15 and I was sweating before I could tie my shoes. This week in Thailand has been unbelievably hot and humid—perfect for heat and humidity training I suppose but difficult to stay hydrated even when I’m not running. My run was to consist of two five-mile loops (I think it’s a five mile loop…) first one I finished no problem; it’s my normal daily run. Embarking on the second loop I could feel my legs and sweat glands working extra hard, I was dreaming of the Gu and water bottle I stashed two miles from where I was. Gummy mouth and energy waning, I needed some water and a few calories.

As I started a bit of down hill I began to feel a bit better, I knew I was getting closer to my hydration, I also looked at my watch and it was 10:31. I smiled and knew my friend was sending me the energy that I needed at that exact moment. I reached my bottle and Gu and kept going trying to hone in on this feeling of feeling okay, not great but not horrible.

As I reached one of my favorite temple ruins I saw a group of 5 monks dressed in gold sitting in the grass facing a group of Thai Buddhist wearing white—they were meditating, creating energy for themselves and appreciating the day. I was feeling a bit needy and mentally asked them for some energy—I had another 30 minutes of this run to get through and needed all the help I could get. At this point I had stopped sweating and was beginning to feel chilled, not the best sign when it’s 98 degrees and I was only able to hold down half the gel and a few sips of water. I asked and took the energy, I’d like to think they knew they were helping the farang though the hot run.

I finished strong. I walked the last 500 meters to my apartment door and smiled at what I had just experienced. Not only my longest run in Thailand but the power of the mind and focus it takes to decide to set out and do something. I don’t know if the energy literally came my way—I’m saying it did, and it helped. And believing in the energy doesn’t hurt…so spread it, share it, give it, receive and appreciate it.

Post run energy--coffee yen!

Post run energy–coffee yen!

 

74, 25, 1

10% and 90%? No. 50% and 50%? No. 75% and 25%? That’s probably closer.

 

This is me trying to figure out the mental to physical strength I’m going to need in February. Yep, you guessed it, I signed up for a 50K trail run in Thailand. What the fuck am I thinking? Part of me said after I entered my credit card into the little box. This is going to be awesome! The other part was saying. 5:30am is not a good time to make big decisions, but I threw down the money and now I have to begin training—for realz.

 

74% mental: (I know, you think I’m nuts…bear with me) 50K is what? Like 30-something miles? That’s a lot of time on your feet, a lot of time in your brain, a lot of time to talk yourself out of something. Or in my case I’m pretty good at talking myself into things. Being here in Thailand is tough on my brain, on my emotions and on my regular life routine. Running has been a savior, if I can convince myself that 89 degrees isn’t that hot (mostly because yesterday was 94 degrees) and I can go out and run—I’m golden. Just 7-10 hours of that on race day and done is done!

 

25% physical: So yeah, I do have to train for this thing. My current idea of a training plan is as follows:

 

6xweek: run

2xweek: 2 a day runs

3-4xweek: yoga

1xweek: try to get out for over 2 hours (we’ll see how this goes)

 

Other activities: badminton, push-up, squats, lunges…etc.

 

By February 2nd it’s just going to be another long day in woods…right?

 

Wait wait wait!!! Where’s that extra 1% ? you ask?

 

1%: Support. Cheerleaders. Positive energy. Love. And Gu… don’t forget the Gu.

A Ranting Race Report [and some fun alliteration]

All times and dialogue are an approximation. This is neither fact nor fiction, just my memory of the first 24 hour 100 mile race I competed in on July 23 in New Castle, VA.

 

 3:45am:

I don’t think I fell asleep.

My ass is on the ground in the hammock the I attempted slumber in.

It’s still dark.

Racers mill around. Check lights on their bikes. Eat bananas. Gu. Honey waffles. 5 hour energy. Caffeinated water.

I want coffee.

I have no coffee.

 

4:28am:

Why the hell did I sign up for this?

 

4:30am:

Gun shot, 103 racers on mountain bikes tumble after each other in the dark. I’m keeping an eye on my race partner, Mike, and we too are off. Ready to climb the mountain.

 

6:57am:

We crest what we think is the top of the mountain. Take photos. Smile.

I don’t even remember 3:30 this morning. I actually feel good!

 

7:22am:

It wasn’t the top. We’re climbing again.

Mike, where the hell is CP [check point] 1?

 

7:30am:

Found it.

CP 1. Fuck yes! Only 19 more to go!

 

11:42am:

Off the bikes.

Thank god.

 

1:03pm:

Mother fucking fucking bees fuck fuck fuck. This is the only time I’m crying today Mike. Fucking bees mother fuck fuck.

Bee attack while bush wacking through the woods.

 

2:38pm:

Walking. On a road. In the middle of fucking nowhere. 103 degrees.

Is it bad I haven’t peed all day? I think I’ve drank 8 gallons of water and haven’t peed once. I must be dehydrated. I think I’m drunk. I…I …

 

3:45pm:

A nice lady give us water. And Diet Coke.

I could marry you right now.

Mike beats me to the proposal.

 

4:32pm:

We miss the paddle portion due to a huge storm and are bussed to the next CP.

I’m pissed.

 

5:00pm

Opting out of optional check point seems like the logical answer.

Let’s go.

Holy fuck that bike seat does not feel good. Hoooooo man.

Note to self: if I do this again BODY GLIDE.

Note taken.

 

5:01-10:40pm

Sunset happens. I don’t really remember this section to be honest. My mind probably blocked it out on purpose.  We rest. Mike and our new friends lay down, I stand.

I don’t want lactic acid to pool in my legs. You guys will regret lying for so long.

They do. Back on the bikes. More hills. More elevation gained and lost.

I’m not even tired any more. My ass just hurts. I’m sick of Sport Beans. Clif Bars. Beef jerky. Honey stuff. I want a burger. No, pizza. Ice cream, yes, ice cream. And pretzels.

 

10:53pm:

It feels like we’re in a green house. The temperature and humidity are in the 90s and it’s hard to breath.

I just want to sleep. No. I just want to not be walking on the fucking road anymore.

 

11:56pm:

We lost our new friends.

I’m over it. They’ll find their way.

 

12:21am:

Holy shit Mike, we’re done.

We’d been racing for what feels like years. Ronny, the race director welcomes us, shakes my hands, I think I’m high.

Holy shit. I just did this. I need a shower. I still haven’t peed.

 

1:00am

I sleep I my car.

 

6:22am

Real food.

Hell yes. I’m doing another. I know what not to do now.

 

Next post: the OTHER 100 miles, 24-hour race I competed in. Yes. I did it again. And it was glorious.