Monday, April 27, 2015

Earthquake in Nepal

Just wow.

I don't know what it is with mountains, climbing, Berea, and emotions, but there is a correlation. Maybe it is just Berea and emotions, period.

The information I have at this point is far from what the outcome will be, but to give a background...

A large earthquake hit Nepal 2 days ago. From preliminary reports, it was about 7.8 in magnitude, the largest to hit Nepal in 80 years. The death toll is in the thousands and climbing (no pun intended) by the hour. Mt. Everest was also affected by the earthquake which resulted in multiple avalanches and already a high death toll. Since the major earthquake, there have been multiple aftershocks which have been nearly as bad as the first and certainly not helping with rescue efforts. I am no official news source, so that's about all I can speculate for certain.

My family is no stranger to natural disasters. Well before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I would be glued to the television after any worldwide disaster. I remember begging my parents, even in middle school, to go help with the disaster relief.

I think it started sometime around 1st or 2nd grade when a tornado ripped through my town of 1,200 people and destroyed a family friends' farm. My family (along with half the town) assembled to help clean-up what we could on the farm. I really only remember grabbing debris and throwing it away, but I remember emotions were high....
Fast forward to 2001, my crazy family visits the World Trade Centers within 2 months before they were attacked. I begged and pleaded to go help, but for one reason or another, it wasn't feasible.
Four years later, Hurricane Katrina made landfall. For weeks, I told my parents, "I want to be there, I want to help". My dad happened to mention it to the right people and Christmas break of 2005, I was on a bus to New Orleans to help with the clean-up. It was a life-changing experience.

One year ago, my brother was on Mt. Everest during the worst avalanche in history, up to that point. We had the "death" talk before he left and it was the elephant in the room that "would never happen to him" kind of thing. Waking up in the middle of the night to a text asking if my brother was alright was a "throat in stomach" moment. I was able to quickly learn via Twitter that he was alright, which was all I wanted to hear. They stayed on the mountain only a few days, long enough to decide climbing was pretty much canceled for the rest of the season and he began his nearly week long trek of the mountain, back to Kathmandu.

I can't imagine backpacking off of a disaster on Everest, only to another disaster in Kathmandu.

#1- I've thanked God many times in the past 2 days for keeping my brother here safe this month. #2- I've thanked God many times in the past 2 days for being able to sleep knowing my brother is safe. #3- I've prayed many times in the past 2 days for the families and friends of those in Nepal this week. A disaster like this is just so far from the imagination of most people who have never experienced a disaster. Thousands dead, houses destroyed, friends and families injured, no source of food, no source of medical help, no shelter. That just begins to describe my attraction for helping with disaster relief.

When the avalanche came down Everest last year, it was the most deadly event on Everest until this year. Two years in a row, a major disaster like this...!!! I mean, come on....

My prayers are with you Nepal.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Endorphins

I've spent a lot of time over the past week reminiscing on my experiences in Italy and the impacts it had on me. In no sense do I want to detract from the actual heroes (runners) of the event, but for the small audience interested in my story, that's why I'm here.

I have said this multiple times to different people in the past week, but being amongst hundreds of runners, I felt fat and lazy at best. My only claim to a healthy lifestyle is participating in an annual sand volleyball league for a few months of the year which usually lends itself to more social drinking than fitness. I am enough health conscious to not be over-weight and I know that's saying more than many, but it's nothing to be proud of.

I struggle with 2 things. #1-I am a horribly competitive person and HATE losing. Okay, who doesn't but I think I am on the extreme end. I have gotten in a lot of fights with friends and family because I am a sore loser. Not only do I get unreasonably angry when I lose, but I then avoid situations where I could lose again, more often then not, making me a quitter. #2-I have always struggled with self-image issues and physical fitness certainly plays a role in that. I don't feel like going there today so that's all I will say about that.

One point of this post is to express the admiration I had for all the runners in Italy. Little did they think or care, but each one of them is so far beyond my limits as to be unbelievable. Do I think I will ever run a 24hr race, no, but it was motivation that I can and should run.


So, I've started running again. The first run was hard. I was bad and slow. I was coughing for hours after. My legs didn't even hurt to give me feedback it was worth it. However, for the first time since high school cross country, I have the urge to keep going. Only because I've quit so many times. We will see how it plays out, but I know I'm better than that, I just have to prove it. I've set training goals, I've set a race goal, I'm tracking my runs (and physical feelings). I don't want to quit this time. 

Moral of the story; thank you runners. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Note: Part 3 (Medical & Team Staff)

As a preface, for those of you unfamiliar to what I am talking about in this string of posts, I attended the 24 Hour World Championship Of Ultrarunning in Torino, Italy. Reason being; my older brother qualified for it as the #2 spot on the USA men's team. I will spare the details, because each part is dedicated to a specific person/group who knows the circumstantial details of what I will be addressing.

Here are the links to the other parts:

This part is to the medical & team staff-

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

For helping my brother feel better, encouraging him, making him smile, & coaching us on what to do with him. Let's not forget the mental coaching you did calming US. I'm sorry.

You did wayyyyy more than your job description and not only are the athletes thankful, but so am I. Between relaxing Isaiah, making him smile, telling us what his body was lacking, and putting up with me for 24 hours, thank you.

To the staff for driving us all over Turin, I really appreciate it. Transportation can be such a nightmare in foreign places, it was nice to have you there and keep us coordinated with the athletes.

Thank you for all the supplies you bought. The pizza for us, the athletes food, THE TOILET PAPER, the water. It was incredibly less stressful not having to worry about those details.

Thank you coach for being awesome. (I don't like mentioning people's actual names on here.) You did amazing coordinating everything, and so much more than I even know about. Logistics, statistics, mentality.....you just always knew the answer. I can't say thank you enough for your dedication, you are awesome.

Hopefully next time I won't need to rely on you all SO much, but know I appreciate all that you did.

A Note: Part 1 (Brother)

As a preface, for those of you unfamiliar to what I am talking about in this string of posts, I attended the 24 Hour World Championship of Ultrarunning in Torino, Italy. Reason being; my older brother qualified for it as the #2 spot on the USA men's team. I will spare the details, because each part is dedicated to a specific person/group who knows the circumstantial details of what I will be addressing.

Here are the links to the other parts:
A Note: Part 2 (Fellow Crew)
A Note: Part 3 (Medical & Team Staff)
A Note: Part 4 (Lessons Learned)

This part is to my big brother-

I'm sorry. Foremost for not coming to more of your races when I really could have. Secondly, for not knowing how to "crew".

I'm proud. To see you with your team and how much you bonded. See you representing Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin (to name a few). That you can do so much more than me (& most others). To see you run for TWENTY-FOUR hours through the pain and still be so positive. That you have a more caring heart than I do and that you finished the race.

I'm thankful. For all the lessons you teach me and realizations you make me face. For being a great role model and simply that YOU are my brother.

Please don't be disappointed or upset with the race results. You fractured your leg mearly 6 weeks ago and had no where near the training you would have had under normal circumstances. For basically zero training............how did you even get to 80 miles? You did more than many healthy people WITH training! I guess I'm just saying, like I always do, don't be so harsh on yourself.

I hope to share more experiences like this with you and learn each time so I can be the best support possible. I also learned a lot this week and hopefully you can see it through these notes. I'm actually pretty excited to crew for you again so I can do a better job.

Love,
Berea

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1

A Note: Part 2 (Fellow Crew)

As a preface, for those of you unfamiliar to what I am talking about in this string of posts, I attended the 24 Hour World Championship Of Ultrarunning in Torino, Italy. Reason being; my older brother qualified for it as the #2 spot on the USA men's team. I will spare the details, because each part is dedicated to a specific person/group who knows the circumstantial details of what I will be addressing.

Here are the links to the other parts:
A Note: Part 1 (Brother)
A Note: Part 3 (Medical & Team Staff)
A Note: Part 4 (Lessons Learned)

This part is to the fellow crew members of the USA athletes I spent the 24 hours with-

You all know it was my first time as "crew". Isaiah won the North Coast 24 with no crew and I had no idea why that was a big deal until this week. When he asked if we'd be his crew, I thought he meant for us to come cheer for him. How was I supposed to know what that really meant? I virtually didn't know anything until a couple hours in. Please forgive us for being uneducated, in your way, needy, unorganized, frantic, or anything else that we were.

Thank you for everything. For giving us salt tablets, gel packs, shot blocks, and everything else we didn't have prepared. Thank you for being patient as we learned and teaching us the tricks. I honestly felt dumb compared to you.

Sorry for running into you a million times or standing in front of you when your runner was coming before ours. I learned its a team effort organizing that many handoffs. I promise to be better the next time we meet.

You all did a great job and taught me a lot. Is it okay for me to say how sore I am today?! :-/

Thanks again and let me know where I can post my pictures to. I have some great ones of most of the runners & crew!

Hopefully I'll see you before 2017, if not, I'll see you then. :)

A Note: Part 4 (Lessons Learned)

As a preface, for those of you unfamiliar to what I am talking about in this string of posts, I attended the 24 Hour World Championship Of Ultrarunning in Torino, Italy. Reason being; my older brother qualified for it as the #2 spot on the USA men's team. I will spare the details, because each part is dedicated to a specific person/group who knows the circumstantial details of what I will be addressing.

Here are the links to the other parts:

This part is recapping [some of] the lessons I learned-

I learned many things......
1- I will definitely help pack Isaiah's supplies next time. Thankfully we had a big backup supply for the team, but there were many things Isaiah requested on the spot that were never discussed.
2- I will probably invest in a mifi or something similar. I had many friends and family wanting live updates that I couldn't really provide unless I was standing in the right spot at the right time with my phone at the right angle.
3- I learned there needs to be better communication within a crew as far as job responsibilities. It was just my mom and I crewing for my brother and it didn't work well. Who prepares the food/drinks, who hands them to him, who watches for him, who cheers for him, who decides what he needs, who runs to the middle of the course to check on him or cheer for him, who changes him? There needs to be order and organization. It would also help having a "runner" to get his water bottles or any other errands needed.
4- Ice, ice, ice. Hot water, hot water, hot water. Depending on the temperatures outside, food/drink temp. is important.
5- I will dress more appropriately also. It got really cold in the middle of the night and really hot during the day. Needless to say, I was not prepared. Also with my shoe choice, but it could have been worse.
6- I want to start running again. Easier said than done, but there are many reasons for this also. It's rewarding, it's good for you, there are always different lengths and goals, it's positive, and many more. Watching all the runners made me feel fat and lazy. I was also asked about 3-4 times if I was a runner simply because "I look like one". Quite honestly, that's half the battle. Another reason is because the Germans killed it at running and I've got a lot of German in me. Perhaps that contributes to my brother being a professional world runner as well. My biggest struggle is giving up. When I'm bad at something, I give up too easily. In order for me to be a successful runner, I need to be invested and find motivation. I have the determination when I set goals, so maybe I'll start there. Isaiah, feel free to give me crap about not running, that motivates me.
7- Find better phrases to cheer and learn what Isaiah needs to hear at different points.
8- Keep track of all items given to Isaiah and better stats. I only got the first 5 hours.

There may or may not be more to come....