Extremely Interesting other Pages

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lewa Race Day..or The day that almost never ended..or the blog that almost never ended

Writing to you from Kaolack, Senegal - a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, where we stopped  for the night on the way to the edge of nowhere (Koumpentoum and Velingara Districts). But alas! There is internet here! And the hotel is pretty decent! I get really really nervous when I go out into the field in the countries I manage because you never know what to expect as far as places to stay are concerned...this tops the charts as far as small Africa town hotels go.  But, this post is about our Lewa (half)marathon day, not my trip to Senegal.
We departed Friday on the 5 hour drive to Lewa to pick up our race packets and check into our hotel.  The plan was to get a good night's rest for the big race the next day. We didn't want to risk eating food festering with salmonella at the lodge so we brough some pizzas with us so we could carb up (read: fatten up).  The highlight of the drive was passing the equator point.  At which time, everyone in the vehicle spouted off all the facts they knew about the equator to show how smart we are.  These included:
1) You are 10 pounds lighter at the equator (fact check please!)
2) Toilets flush different directions depending on what side of the equator you are at
3) Is normally very hot at the equator since you are closest to the sun at that line on the earth...but it's not the case in Kenya because of the alti
4) The longitudinal equivalent of the equator is the prime meridien (how long has it been since you thought of that word)?

We arrived at the race site to pick up our packets.  We were extremely intimidated driving in seeing bus loads of tall thin kenyan men in matching sporty jumpers. We immediately regretted not coordinating our running outfits to at least try to intimidate others.
 Scott and Serg got in line and picked up our race packets - i was running under the alias of Peter Lapray so I had to hang back incognito style.  Then, we took some photos to show we were there.

Then, we made our way to the lodge.  The place was extremely rustic..in fact we saw a mouse in the sugar bowl in the reception area when we walked in! That's pretty rustic and down to nature if you ask me.  But the place was about $15 per night so expectations had to be lowered quickly.  On the plus side there were giant turkies to chase around...

You could hear every single strange sound from the woods all night long...the scariest growling sounded like it was happening literally right outside our door in the middle of the night...it was like an evil moutain lion sound or something...there were colubus monkies out the - serg thinks that's what it was..but i can't imagine something like a monkey sounding like a fire breathing dragon...serg and I were both too scared to talk about it when it woke us both up...that plus very wierd bird calls and the bass from a party in another cabin...literally alllllll night long.  Honestly, not one of usslept much more than 4 hours I would say. There was nothing else to do but wake up and get the run over with...the day that would never end had begun....

I think 237 different materials went into creating this shower

Outdoor dining at its finest - was actually pretty nice there

Byu lacing up
Freaky muzungu girl painting for runners inspiration?
Departed at 5:45am for our grumpy hour long drive to the race site.  I complained so much about not having hot water to make instant coffee with in the morning that my warrior (serg) went out at like 5am and asked the grounds keeper to heat me some water so i would shut the hell up. Love my BYU!  Scott and David were in rare form at this point since their cabins were sandwiched around the party cabin playing house music until 4am.  David literally had large enough cajones to go in the pitch dark to the party cabin, knock on their door, and politely tell them to shut the hell up..it's 3am. But by then the damage had been done.
SO we arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed....

All the local spectators came out to see Serg and I run! They heard how slow we are and had to see for themselves!

More like numbers 300, 400, and 500.

stretchin it out

And they're off! All Sergio needs is a fake mustache and he'll be in full disguise! Scott broke away right at this point...3.3 seconds after we started ;-)

The race course was extremely difficult - it felt like it was uphill the whole way! Really long gradual inclines constantly. It was really really tough. It was pretty land - you can sort of see what the scenery was in the photo above. Towards mile 12, there were herds of elephants..but it was mile 12 and no one gave a SHAT at that point. ;-)

I was okay for the first 9 miles I would say...but the inclines were just killing me ...killing everyone...As soon as the hills would start again, EVERYONE would start walking...I mean, no one had the energy to run..It was constant hills. The description of the marathon says that it's one of the top 10 most difficult and now we know why. It was really tough. Scott has run a marathon before and he said this course was killer. We saw the incredibly talented Kenyan front runners go by - Just amazing...they look like they are floating. But even they were around 20 minutes slower than their normal marathon times with this course. 20 minutes to a star marathoner is like an hour to an amateur.

Serg was having knee issues but kept going and would pull over and wait for me since I have a slower pace than him - very sweet of him but i feel like it really messed up his pace. We finished my half marathon together more or less (he did a lot of waiting for me, which is the nicest thing ever) and then he went on to complete the 2nd lap for the marathon! The funniest thing was as I was nearing the end alone, there was this small crowd of Kenyan spectators that all the sudden erupted in cheering..I was so confused since it was just me..I looked behind me to see who they were cheering for and all the sudden one guy yelled "YOU, YES, YOU!"...and they were all clapping and cheering for me all alone out there..It was very very touching. I love those people..hope they felt my love.

I crossed the finish (13.1 miles) feeling like my feet were going to fall off. Really. It was my feet and my butt muscles..they were killing me. I was just completed fatigued. I sat down for a bit and then realized that I needed to go find David. So I found some energy to get up and go walk around and look for him. I ended up in a sea of local Kenyan spectators - there were people for miles...it was a mess..people literally everywhere..nothing was distinguishable! I couldn't figure out where I was and there was sweat in my ears so everything was clogged and I couldn't hear myself speak. It was bizarre. I somehow wondered back to the finish line area and just sat down...wasn't feeling well after walking around in the hot sun getting lost. Then, I started feeling super nauseous and like I was going to pass out - I laid down and started thinking, let yourself pass out Lenna, but then I was worried that I would throw up all over myself and the other end would do something as well. I was feeling really horrible, with cold sweats - All the sudden I just looked at this random guy sitting nearby and told him I was about to pass out...then I don't remember much after that! I remember sort of being put on a stretcher and taken to the sick tent...and I do remember hearing them talk about giving me an IV...but I was kind of in a different place in my head. Like, I did not care what anyone did to me - I just wanted to shut my eyes and pass out, I had no energy left in any of my bones and my head just sort of checked out. Then I woke up a couple of hours later and realized what time it was and oh SHIT! Serg and Scott are going to be crossing any minute if they didn't already. And I woke up so I was ready to roll again! I went out and waited for the boys to come in...First came Scott, then came Sergio..then came baby in a....oh..never mind. THEY FINISHED THE MARATHON IN ONE PIECE! and they didn't pass out..either one of them. Byu was a little beat up with his knee pain but in general they did AWESOME considering that terrain.

I'll post the photos of the finish once I get them - or maybe never..since we all looked pretty gnarly by then! We rested for a bit and then got in the car for a nice 6 hour drive back to Nairobi. So our 20 hour day finally ended....but like half of the day during the run felt like 2 or 3 weeks and then the car ride home felt like 3 or 4 days..so all in all the trip was like a month long in 20 hours (if any of you have seen the Jerk with Steve Martin) you would appreciate this last line ;-)))

No comments:

Post a Comment

So..what do you have to say about all this?