Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ultra- defying limitations

A memorable finish 

 I’m officially an Ultra Marathoner! My first 50 mile race was a success!It was truly the experience of a lifetime for me, and I am so glad I took upon the challenge.

ul·tra [uhl-truh]
going beyond what is usual or ordinary; excessive; extreme.

Run-de-Vous was incredible. The race director, Rajeev, has such a kind and giving heart. His passion and love for running has motivated and inspired me. He believed in me and gave me this wonderful opportunity to run for my favorite charity, Operation smile. Coach Rajeev gave me a warm welcome to the Ultramarathon family.

 The runners I met at the race were ultra in all positive aspects. They were ultra kind, ultra helpful, and ultra funny. It was surprising to meet so many people with such big hearts. It was amazing to see people of all walks of life come together under one passion, and one love- running.  I am still in awe of their selflessness. Seeing people succeed, then wanting others to succeed with the same enthusiasm is rare. Fellow runners went out of their way just to make me comfortable. They easily shared their tips and tricks, learned with years of experience. 

The excitement! 
The race began at 6:00 AM. Every participant had immediate assistance, and the Aid Station was really a heavenly sight after every 2 mile loop in the scorching Gilroy heat. Not once did I feel alone on the course. Three cheers to the volunteers!

Everything was great until mile 40- I hit the wall, and all I wanted to do was to quit. I was tired of my music, and I had named every cow on the ranch. I was running through the sweltering heat in direct sun. My knees were giving in, and I had lead legs. I’m so blessed that Sofie was on my side when I was at my low. Her genuine laugh, and endless stories were instant pick-me-ups. I’m so glad to have crossed paths with her along my journey to becoming an ultramarathoner. One runner even offered me her ice scarf during the hottest hours of the day. When I was struggling to put moleskin on, Alan (the Run-de-Amore Race director) helped me out. He proved that just a smile and a few words of encouragement can do wonders. After the race he wished, “I hope the pain of those blisters fade fast…but not the blisters themselves. They are badges of honor and you earned them!”. To be honest, I would not have completed the race if it weren't for people like them.

Laps with Sofie
Alan Geraldi, the Run-de-Amore race director

 As I was turning the corner to commence my last 5 laps, I saw my nephew running towards me. Seeing my family there to support me was more than enough to energize me and pull me through the last 10 miles of the race.
The surge of energy I got when I saw my nephew

I would not have been able to accomplish any of this if it weren’t for my mom’s love, support, and guidance! She woke up along with me to train, passed me food during my runs, and bathed me in sunscreen. She is an ULTRA mom. My brother was my main crew. He was there with my every step of the way. It brought a smile to my face every time I saw him running to a portable toilet with toilet paper refills. He volunteered, passed runners energy drinks, ice water, salt tablets, and food for over 9 hours. He has such a big heart. Despite my dad's busy work schedule, and late office hours, he still found time to load the van, and send me off at 3 AM, running on scant sleep. He also came to surprise me at the race.I am so thankful to have a family that unconditionally loves me and cares for me. 
It really does take a village to raise an Ultramarathoner.  

My shoulder to lean on

Ultra Marathons are intimidating! Seeing my family there to support me was more than enough to energize me and pull me through the last 10 miles of the race. I was elated at the sight of my family cheering me on at the finish line.  I could see the pride in their eyes upon the completion of my first Ultra Marathon.

This definitely was an ULTRA run for me. I went way beyond my comfort zone. I had to rise above my prior believed limitations to push on to new heights. Along my journey, I came across intermittent urges to quit, but every time I did, I thought about the children I was running the race for. I raised enough money to provide not 12, but 15 underprivileged children with life changing surgeries. My pain for a couple of hours is nothing when compared to what those children face on a daily basis. I cannot even fathom what they go through.

The fundraising was also an ultra experience. To be flooded with generosity by friends, family and complete strangers is something I’ll never forget. You all have donated out of the goodness of your hearts. To each one of you – I am truly moved by your magnanimity, and it has had a huge impact on me. Thank you! Your actions have inspired me.
The joy a simple 45 minute surgery can bring 

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