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Coastal Challenge Stage 1 – Humility: A Runner’s Best Friend

Hotter than Badwater

Day one was underestimated.


The pace starts out fast, too fast. The stage began at 9:30am on the streets of Quepos in 36 degree heat and 97% humidity. My first 11km were done in 63 minutes and that’s when I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t hydrate properly and struggled through the middle section of the race. Fortunately it was mostly climbing which is a bit of a specialty for me. The day was saved by lying face down in a river as I caught back up to Gemma & Pavel.


I wasn’t able to keep up and found Shawn sitting under a tree at the 27km mark out of water and 3km from the next aid station. Overall only one of us hydrated properly.


Slogging through the last 5km I couldn’t quite catch Pavel, who upon finishing had his calf cramp up pretty severely. He’d spent the last 5km without water.


Tam & Tony got into camp about 8 hours after we started the 33.6km day. Tony having not eaten in 5 hours.


This race has taken on a different dynamic for me and I’ve put some unnecessary pressure on myself as a leader, motivator and runner.


Gemma & Shawn both have the ability to beat me on any given day but still I pushed too hard early on day one. I need to put my running ego on a shelf and focus on supporting the team and ensuring that I maintain the ability to finish each day.


Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.


Nearly every person on the team called day one the most humbling experience of their life.  Tony undoubtedly had the toughest day. At the end of the day he asked “how am I going to do this for 5 more days?”  I have never had someone look at me with so much fear and desperation in their eyes. It scared me. I sat down and we put a mini plan together to just get through the evening and deal with day two tomorrow.


After our chat, looking at my team and my friends, exhausted, humbled and aching I wondered just what had I done by putting this challenge in front of them. It is difficult not to feel responsible for how these people feel physically & emotionally. This time around I didn’t get through 37km without crying, nevermind the 118km I got through in Nepal. It’s moments like this that I wonder whether or not you show your weakness. I hid it from my team in an effort to ensure their doubts or fears don’t grow. They see me as a bit of rock and after only 1 day I needed to keep it that way.


Every great accomplishment begins with a decision to try.


As much as we had our challenges, Gemma raced herself to a second place female overall position, which is amazing considering the caliber of runners here. Tony has gotten some food into him, 3 people have seen the foot doctor and my core temperature seems to be dropping. I think my water intake for today was about 12L. Tomorrow we head out for 39km and I’m looking at 7.5 – 8 hour day. Wake up is 3:45am and a 5:45am start. I’ll have a better game plan tomorrow.