He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's a marathon (AND a sprint....)

Have you ever gotten yourself into something quite knowingly, and yet you still end up thinking, "WHAT IN THE WOLRD am I doing?!?!"

Every year in Jordan there is a race.  I would say marathon but that doesn't really do it justice, considering a marathon is typically 26 miles.  This is a race, run by teams, starting at the Dead Sea at 395 meters BELOW sea level (the lowest place on earth, mind you) and continuing to the Red Sea in Aqaba AT sea level, 243 km away.  Sounds pretty glamorous right?  I mean that IS pretty cool to run in teams from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea.  Who gets to do that?  Those are apparently the thoughts I was thinking several months ago when I signed myself and my precious 2 oldest daughters up for this night of pure torture endless fun.  Oh yeah, that's right, I said night.  In case you missed the part where I said that this race is 243 km long, that means it takes 10 people (the number per team) a pretty darn long time to run it.   So apparently the planners of this amazing event decided that it would be fun for it to be an ALL NIGHT LONG event.  I guess it does make more sense for it to finish in the day time.  Anyway, what that all means is that the race begins AT the Dead Sea at 4 PM on Thursday afternoon and ends the next day at 4 PM in Aqaba.  I think the fastest team finishes in about 12 hours.  The team we're on this year, some of whom ran last year, finished in about 20 hours.

Thankfully, the girls and I are on a team with people who have done this before and there is a plan.  Apparently there is a system to this whole thing that seems to work pretty well.  We have 10 people on our team and will be divided into 2 vehicles.  (and lest you think Jason got out of participating- don't worry, he's driving the van).  Anyway, so 5 runners per vehicle.  Basically one vehicle of runners starts and the next drives about 10 kilometers ahead and waits for the running vehicle to catch up and so the cycle continues all night long.  Since I don't do this kind of math, I'm simply repeating what I've been told, but apparently, the 5 runners in each vehicle run 1/2 kilometer each for 4 cycles until they catch up with the other van who then takes over for the next 10 kilometers.  The van drives slowly behind each runner until their 1/2 k is almost up and then circles around, the next runner hops out, the baton (light stick in the middle of the night) is passed off, the runner who just finishes hops in the van and the next runner takes off.  I'm told (again by people who do this kind of math) that each of us will end up running about 16 miles over the course of about 20 hours in 1/2 kilometer increments. (anybody else's head about to explode- I'm hoping it makes more sense when we're actually doing it....)   WHAT COULD BE MORE FUN?!?!?!

So, the girls and I have been training, but it strikes me, how in the heck do you train for this kind of thing?  I mean running 1/2 kilometer is pretty easy especially if you are in the pattern of regularly running.  But running 1/2 kilometer x 48 times while staying up all night to do so....  Exactly how does one train for that?  I have no idea!   But we've had fun trying to figure it out...

(some of us have apparently had a little more fun in our training than others.  Abbey is quite the ham on the treadmill...  It's a wonder there have not already been injuries)

Others of us just want to get through a run without hurting something...

Truly though, we're preparing as best we can, but are open to any and all suggestions, especially from experienced runners.  I mean, I DO run, but basically I run because my metabolism has essentially deserted me, and, well, I love food.  Therefore I run.  Anyway, suggestions welcome.  Actually come to think of it- considering we are 4 days out, maybe don't suggest anything because it will freak me out that we're not already doing it!  We're already running intervals on the treadmill, and now I've added planking and 50 deep squats morning and night to our routine for this week- apparently we need to strengthen the muscles around our knees so our legs don't turn to jelly!  

I'm definitely feeling my age as I mentally prepare for this night of awesomeness.  The funny thing is, Jason and I have this running dialogue where he calls me "almost 40" and I jokingly refuse to accept that classification.  (Ok, ok so now that I am only 3 months away from the big 4-0, I grudgingly accept that I truly am "almost 40", but come one, I didn't have to claim almost 40, when I was only 36 did I?  Anyone with any brains will tell you that 36 is clearly in your mid 30s and absolutely NOT "almost 40".  I mean really).  But I digress.   The point being, that for the purpose of discussing this race, I am clearly "almost 40" and the oldest member of our team ( I think).  There is one other dad on our team running with his daughter and he may actually be my age, but for the purpose of drama I am going to go ahead and claim the "oldest team member" position since I'm pretty sure he has a few marathons under his belt and athletically speaking that makes him a few years younger, right?  

Anyway, in almost exactly 4 days from now, Abbey, Maddie and I will be joining a team of another dad and daughter and 5 extremely fit 20-something year old Cross Fit junkies who have graciously allowed us to humiliate run with them.   (some of them are actually probably in their 30s but I think their general fitness level brings their mean age down to at least mid 20s.)   I say this so you get the point that the girls and I are way out of our league here, but again, WHAT COULD BE MORE FUN?!  (it's not like any of us are competitive or anything and actually WANT to do well) 

So to recap....

-Running 1/2 kilometer segments for a total of 16 miles
-Staying up all night to do so
-Running from the lowest point of elevation ON THE PLANET up to 257 meters above sea level and back down to sea level (this equals running uphill almost the whole way in case you missed it)
-Cramming into a van with a bunch of other smelly runners in between runs
-Trying to figure out how to train for this marathon, umm, I mean series of sprints...

Ok, ok.  So I'm talking like the world's about to end, when in reality, we are really excited about making this memory.  I mean, it really is true, how often can you say you've gotten to do something like this, and how often can you give your kids the chance to do something like this?!  I love a good challenge especially when it comes to fitness, and I love that my girls are excited about the opportunity to push themselves to do something that is probably going to be way out of their comfort zone.  Jason is super excited to stay up all night with us constantly driving at the pace of about 7 miles per hour...   All in all, we should make some really fun memories and hopefully not lose any toenails in the process and still all be able to walk this next day.  I thought it would be fun to write this pre-race post so that I can update you again after the race and let you know how it all turns out.  

Ready or not, Dead 2 Red, here we come!

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