|This. Is. Paradise.|
I was asked this by new friends I met while travelling in Lisbon, the Madeira police at 2am, and myself in the cold, dark, wet hours of my training.
|All packed in my VSD pack!|
|The one time I wore a bikini|
After a year of battling injuries and the MCAT study crazies, I signed up for an epic vacation, WS qualifier, and totally rad adventure: the Madeira Island Ultra Trail. The 116km was farther than I had ever run and was on the most beautiful island (thanks google images). Though, the distance and 8000m vert were no joke and I had to spend the winter months training hard. Battling the snow, rain, frigid temps, and darkness, I had the help of awesome lady tiger jungle cats. These hardcore crazies kicked my butt up and over Section line repeats and kept my ab muscles strong from literally laughing out loud.
Since this was a long ways to go for a race, I wanted to make it into an adventure. I planned a 4 day layover in Lisbon. I swam in the ocean, made new friends of various nationalities listening to Fado music & drinking sangria, rock climbed under Moorish castles in Sintra, and just generally wandered around everywhere. After the race, I spent 3 days in Marrakesh riding camels, getting swindled in souks, and eating all the tajin. It was an awesome vacation.
|My rock climbing routes!|
|Sangria > Water for hydration|
|Scooter of death|
|Lost in Lisbon|
|Starting the smiles early|
The week before the race, I spent eating pastries, hanging out on the farm with Maria, my host, and resting up (the continued rain and my fear of the scooter didn't allow much room to explore the island). Before I knew it, I was receiving race instructions at the press conference, making a mess to organize my race gear, and nervously picking at my bib number on a bus to the start. I made some good friends that helped ease the nerves: Matt Schaar repping SFRC from the Bay, Claire a badass ER doc/PhD that also runs 100+ mi races, Australians Kellie & Tegyn, and some Brazilians. Thanks to my ITRA ranking (really, I think it's just the fact that I'm "young"), I was able to start with the elites in a flurry of cameras; I made sure to bust a few moves to embarrass everyone around me.
|This guy got such a good view of my butt for some hours|
|Even at 65km, you can still make a silly face|
|I bring the discoteca to the euro party|
Coming down from these peaks, from 75km to 100km, I felt devoid of everything inside. I had the will and motivation to finish, and no real physical detriment to my legs. But it was as if everything else inside had been sucked out. I simply could not run. It was all I could do to keep moving forward, at my glacial snail pace. My ipod and watch died, so time continued to deceive me and it felt as if the world slowed it's spinning. I didn't feel sorry for myself because I was giving it everything I had, and at that moment, it just happened to be power walking. I plastered a smile on my face and reminded myself how incredibly lucky I am as I put one foot in front of the other.
|A little help can go a long-a** way|
-Salomon sparkle pack
-Garmin Fenix 2 watch
-TNF Ultra Vertical shoes
-TNF Spanx & BTN Tee (bib stapled on as euros don't believe in pins)
-Tumbler cup & 1.5L bladder
-So many Clif bars
-Safety blanket with a lucky 1euro penny
-TNF Hyperair goretex jacket
-gloves & rainbow arm sleeves
-pole magic sticks
-Petzl Tikka & Ledlenser MH10 headlamp
-Drymax mid calf pink (duh) socks
-Victory Sportsdesign buff
Big thank you to all those family & friends cheering me on, MIUT for an incredible race and experience, sponsors that keep me from running naked (almost), and the lovely people I met along the way. I highly recommend this race (read sufferfest) and beautiful island to anyone. Strava of what I got before my watch died HERE.
Now that it's over, I opened my medical school applications. Recovery with ice cream and writing never felt so good. Next up: Broken Arrow 55k in June!
|"Oh hey"- awkward American tourist|
|Never Stop Eating Pastries|