Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Road to El Faro

Today I got up at 5:30 a.m. to get on a bus to Mexico! I was going to the El Faro Orphanage in Baja Mexico, just outside Tijuana, with Corazon de Vida. After we left Irvine, we had to pick up some folks in San Diego, coincidentally right by the bay. I shuddered as I had flashbacks of the 2006 San Diego Rock N Roll marathon. After that, we were off to Mexico. As soon as we crossed the border I could tell we were in another country. (Unlike Canada, which looks exactly like the U.S.) 20 minutes later, we stop by a soccer field and are told we are going through a hole in the fence, walking down a hill, then up a hill, and then we'd be at El Faro (the hill was a landfill and tires pilled up on which the orphanage was built). So through the hole, down a hill, and up a hill we go. When we arrived at El Faro carrying the supplies we had brought, a couple boys came running out to take it from us and carry it inside. Then the whole morning I got to play with the children and practice my Spanish. We had lunch and hung out a little more before we had to go. I can't even explain what it's like to be there - it was an amazing experience. These children are so happy and carefree, despite the fact that they don't have parents, their parents can't afford to take care of them, or their parents have ditched them there en route to the U.S. There are 4-5 "mothers" at the orphanage for 45 kids, so they don't get a lot of attention. Finally it was time to go and we said our reluctant goodbyes. This post is no where near as long as it could be, but I think the pictures will do a better job describing everything than I can...

the view from El Faro

me & one of the little babies


me & another little one

the kids goofing off for the camera

Diego kept stealing my shades

the walk back to the bus

El Faro is the blue building

The hole in the fence

Friday, March 7, 2008


I did it :) My final stats - 5:20:32, which was good for 7676th place out of 17308 overall. I will start by saying I am incredibly happy with this, considering my longest run pre-marathon was 13 miles. And I didn't get tired until about mile 21, and I didn't want to quit until mile 23. I'm not quite sure why I can run a sub 2 hour 1/2, but the full marathon drags me down! Ok, full recap...
it all started with the alarm at 4:40 a.m. We had to check in with TNT at 5, so Allison and I got up at 4:40 and quickly got downstairs. I had my bagel and juice and then we waited. When we were ready to get on the bus at 6 a.m., I was ready to go. Then a looong bus ride (some of the back roads were closed so we ended up going back and forth on the freeway a couple times) made me kind of sleepy. Finally we made it and got dropped off. We got in the port-o-potty line which was the slowest ever and then got to the start line a few minutes before the race started. Didn't really matter because I couldn't hear the starting gun anyway. We stretched out and then people started cheering so we figured the race had started. I was planning on starting off really slowly and picking it up after the halfway mark if I felt good. So I started off slow, and had to hold myself back a lot. We ran past the Vivid building (I'm sure some of you know what Vivid is) and a little through town. The best part of the race is running through the different communities. Everyone came out to cheer on the runners, offering candy, bread, pretzels, anything they had. It was amazing. I don't remember much else about the race, except a few things my TNT coach Melissa pointed out (which is usually the case during my races). I know it started to get really hot, probably because the race started at 8:20 a.m. so they turned on hoses and tried to keep us cool. Melissa stayed with me until Mile 21, and right after I started to get really tired. Then I got to mile 23, which was some long bridge, and I really wanted to be done. But seriously how can you quit after 23 miles? And (surprisingly) I wasn't injured, just really tired, and my left leg was cramping a bit. I made it over that damn bridge and then it was a couple more miles in LA to the finish. The 26 mile marker was right in front of the hotel, but I kept going to finish the last .2 :) I almost cried when I saw the finish line I was so happy. I really wish this had've been my first marathon experience because my first one sucked. This race was fun. I never thought I'd say a marathon was fun, but it was until about mile 20. Part of that was that I was lucky enough to have my TNT coach run much of the race with me to keep my mind off the race. I don't think I could ever thank her enough!
After the race I had to walk through the chute and everything, I couldn't just walk back the easy .2 mile to the hotel. I ended up walking far. Like several blocks, including down 4 sets of stairs and through the library. I had to stop and sit down 3 times because I just couldn't go any farther! Luckily I saw another TNT member and followed them to the hotel. I finally got to the hotel and started to feel nauseous so I had to sit down again. I got upstairs and just laid on the bed and was in heaven.
I would absolutely recommend this marathon to everyone. It was an amazing experience. Part of the experience was doing it with TNT, knowing that I was there for something so much bigger than me. The dinner the night before reminded me of the reason I was there and that I had raised $2000 by myself towards the cause!!!!! http://www.teamintraining.org
I was even more surprised when I could walk the next day! The outside of my left knee was sore and the middle of my right knee. Tuesday my quads were soooo sore! Eric and I went for a bike ride to work it out a little and that helped. Wednesday they were still sore, but we went for an easy 3 miler, which also helped because by Thursday, I felt fine, which is an incredible concept to me considering how my first marathon went.
I ordered the memory stick with all my pictures on it, so when that comes in a couple weeks, I will definitely post some pictures!