This was an incredible experience.
I trained pretty well and had a good idea of how I could perform physically, and went into this with a deliberate mental state to deal with the stress of this challenge. More so than any other race, I felt relaxed and determined to perform my best but savor and enjoy the journey. The only lull I had was when we were in a holding pattern in Chile waiting to get into Antarctica.
The journey was full of diverse and deeply rich experiences. Even though we spent a limited time in each place, the pain of the marathons seared the memories in place. The intensity of the challenge made the experiences highly memorable. Each place had its own distinct place in my heart too.
In a previous post, I mentioned the positivity that surrounds running and that was completely in evidence throughout this journey. In fact, as I typed this just now in a lounge in Santiago, Chile, someone just started talking to me about it and asked to take a picture of my bag which has the event logo. This was a frequent occurrence at airports, and the positive energy of volunteers and supporters at races was amazing too. Despite being in a bubble for the nine days, I also felt some glimpses of the positive energy and support from back home through the quick FaceTimes with the family and some texts and obviously the donations to the Children’s Fund.
Amazingly, I may have gained a few pounds on this trip, despite running 209.6 miles and burning over 26,000 calories during the runs. I didn’t meet a calorie I didn’t like, and wolfed down fast food and gigantic airport Toblerons.
I was very happy with my physical training going into this event. I had started about eight months ago to get ready for the 10K at the Summer Scamper, which also benefits Stanford Children’s. I then lost a bit of weight and tried to get fast for a personal record at a marathon in Ireland. I then piled on lots of miles to ensure I could go the distance. However, there was no way of knowing how my body would adopt to this stress.
Thankfully, even though I had pains in different places, such as quads, glutes, and my ankle, nothing was too debilitating. The biggest concern was my ankle in the race at NYC, but I powered through that and didn’t have any issues afterwards. In Antarctica, I felt like a coiled spring after the one day off.
Some folks were disappointed about not making the eight marathons in the eight days, but I ended the journey on a high with my best performance ever at the tough race in Antarctica. I just set my mind to do a particular pace and felt relaxed but focused on it. I only realized afterwards how tough the course was when folks congratulated me. A while later I did a loop with one of our crew who was finding it tough going when it got dark. The folks we met still out running those hills much later were really battling to keep spirits high, as the cold and treacherous conditions took their toll.
A lot of people asked me about what’s next. In fact, some folks were asking me that before we even did the race in Antarctica. I want to savor the moment and not rush back into anything soon.
The experience of having a great cause with this was also an amazingly positive experience. I felt really proud to be doing this with the support going to kids and families through the Children’s Fund at Stanford Children’s Hospital. To have meaning for this incredible journey meant everything.
Thank you all.