Sunday, 9 February 2014

Day 2 (TCC2014): Finding our Groove

Race Start... made it just as they said, "Go!"
At 3:30am we woke up to the alarm and thought we had lots of time to eat breakfast at 4am, pack up and get ready to run by daybreak.. but we barely had time to fill our camelbacks up as we frantically threw everything we owned into bags and tried to ignore the warning yells saying.. " RACERS.. 2 MINUTES!!!!" "RACERS!!!!! 1 MINUTE!!!" It was the absolute worst, most anxiety building scream  you could ever hear... we are getting nervous just thinking about it now! Two things that Joel and I discussed the night before about this run today was that we knew it would be much cooler temperatures to run in as we were starting almost 4 hours earlier than the day before. Secondly, there were two big climbs totalling 2000m.. now that's home territory for us. Hills, hills, hills. Right away we knew we were much stronger as we started passing more and more people.. even as I slathered on sunscreen while running.. not an easy feat.. especially trying to rub it into your running legs as they keep moving! We pushed harder and faster and continued to pass other runners as we climbed.

In our element! "Boom-Shacka-Laaa!"
At the descent of the first climb, we found our groove and felt confident and ready to tackle the second climb. This is where we met Sue, a fellow Canadian from Squamish, who also loved the jungle single track, that made the time go by quickly as we chatted. We handled the second climb just like the first, passing more people only to find out that our technical skills were even better than we thought as we zoom-zoomed past runners on a steep downhill covered with deep dried cattle prints that were the perfect size to break an ankle or twist a knee. This section was in the direct heat of the sun and was extremely hot! But that didn't stop us from doing rock jumps for the photographer as we flew down the mountain side. Once we made it to the bottom, we were beyond thrilled to see a cold river and flung ourselves into it! Happily splashing around and cooling off we took a few seconds to recoup and hug it out. Smiles intact, we continued to push on to the next aid station that we knew was only a few km away.

Joel running along one of the mountain crests
Little did we know those few km were all on painful gravel road in the exposed sunlight that were steep enough to hurt your feet as you ran down them. The road seemed never ending!! Every corner we made we expected to see the aid station that was never there. We just kept thinking to ourselves that it HAD to be coming.. finally, it appeared as we turned the last corner to our great relief! We ran in strong and made some hoops and hollers and made sure to announce that we were in the Adventure Race and therefore DONE for the day!!! HURRAY! We placed first with a time of just over 4 hours!

Shannon running in the jungle, the mighty jungle!
At this aid station, we met father and son, Greivin and Nayib, two of the most genuine kind people we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They catered to our every need.. including hosing us off with a garden hose and putting flowers in Shannon's hair. Yay! Flower Power! Throughout the race they continued to help us in any way possible and we couldn't be more grateful for their support and happiness. We also met Krista Baker, who is working the The Challenge (a triathlon held in Penticton, previously the Ironman), we hope to be able to help her out with this event this year! She is also one of the sweetest people we have met. We also connected with other runners at the aid station due to logistic errors in transportation for finishers. We ended up being at the aid station for 3 hours before we finally got a ride back to our camp for the night in Dominical, a little surf town on the coast.

Greivin placing the victory flower in Shannon's hair.
Camp wasn't the greatest as we only had two toilets and two showers for all the racers.. but there was a restaurant and gorgeous beach that made up for it. No complaints on the food as there was always lots of it and it was served by happy faces. You can tell that the food was made with love and there was real passion in what the cooks were doing. We treated ourselves to massages this night as well! $30 for a long deep tissue leg massage after running.. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what the dr ordered. boom!

Since our 3rd day was supposed to only be 10km we knew that we were starting racing at 9am, we didn't bother to pack anything the night before and went to bed thinking it would all be fine and dandy in the morning. We thought we would be able to leisurely stretch, reorganize, eat and prep for the day to come.. little did we know we were in for a surprise...
Beach in Dominical across from our campsite.

To be continued,

Shanny and Joel

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