Saturday, July 12, 2008

China - Day 5

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today is the day! What we came here to do! We woke up with no problem at 3 am. When you go to sleep at 6, that makes it easier! We got on the bus at 4 to take the same 3 hour drive we took on Thursday. We had the same box breakfast and it was yummy. We stopped at the same rest stop and it was even more gross than on Thursday. We got to the race start on time and were ready to go! Our run started at 7:40 - the full marathon had started around 7:15 and then 10K and 5K people would start after us. I was so nervous and just anxious to get going. Trevor normally runs faster then me, we decided on this day to run together - how can you truly experience something like this if you aren't together?

We got going and started our 3 mile uphill battle. It was slow going - I watched my heart rate and made sure I didn't push it too hard - we had a long way to go. We got onto the wall and it wasn't as disorienting at on Thursday - I knew what was in store for us, so I wasn't so worried. This time, it went much faster, it took us about an hour to get through the entire wall. The weather was perfect - cloudy and about 60. Those stairs getting off the wall were killers again! We made it! Now that we were off the wall, I knew we only had 7 more miles to go and I was expecting they would be flat and easy.

It took a while to get into a groove after all that up and down on the stairs. We got going pretty good, I thought - we headed down a main road and then into a village. This part of the run was so unexpected. The people from the village were all out watching us. When I say village - I mean a very rural village - probably no running water - thatched roofs - some people were out tending to their gardens. The children were the best - they all wanted to practice their English - so they would say "hello" "nice to meet you" "run faster". It was very sweet. We were all practicing our Chinese - "Nee How" which we all think means Hello and "sha sha" which we believe means Thank you. It was so amazing. These people probably don't see westerners except during this run. What do you think they think of us? This run has gone on for 10 years - I really wonder what they thought that first year. By now they understand when it happens. It was quite an experience.

I was all caught up in this excitment - enjoying the flat dirt road - right around mile 9, we turned a corner and there was a steep, rocky uphill. Not funny. This was our terrain for about two miles before we reached the highest point in the village, then we headed back down and onto the main road. We made it back towards the courtyard, passing a woman laying on the ground, with her feet up, being helped by medics. We came into the finish area and heard our names being called - Trevor grabbed my hand and we crossed the finish line together. This was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life and easily one of the best days ever. This run was more than I ever expected it to be - I was worried we were not ready for it- we were totally ready. I felt good when we were done - not beaten down or exhuasted. Instead, I felt energized, like there was nothing I couldn't do...

Our finishing time was 3 hours and 22 minutes. Every other half marathon we have done - our times have been right around 2 hours for Trevor and 2:15 for me - so this was a bit more challenging. We went and got our lunch - a subway sandwhich and watched people finish. The man who won the full marathon finished in 3 hours and 20 minutes - he ran 26 miles two minutes faster than we ran 13 miles. We saw one of the men from our group and he was finishing 7th! We also saw Margret finish - she's the 85 year old woman - she did the 10k - so she had to run up the big hill and then the wall. It took her 4 hours. She said it was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life. When I'm 85, I want to be like her.

We hung out for a little while, then made our way to the massage area where we got a free massage - it felt SO good on my tired legs. We then got on the bus for the long 3 hour ride back into town. By the time they dropped us off at our hotel, we were very stiff. We decided that Pizza Hut was so good to us before the run - we should have it again after the run. The plan was that Trevor would go up to the room and drop off our stuff - I would go directly to PH and order our pizza. I did this. Trevor came down just in time for the pizza to be ready - we took it up to our room and ate the whole thing (and the left overs from last night) in about 3 minutes. I love pizza hut stuffed crust pizza. Very happy and satisfied - we took showers and walked a few blocks to Baskin and Robbins for an ice cream. YUM. We were on our way back to the room and saw some people that had done the full marathon and they were just getting back to the hotel - we were very thankful that we hadn't done the full marathon because we were ready for bed!!!

Another early night and again, we went right to sleep.

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