Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Los Gatos Jungle Run Race Report!

Submitted by Lupe Steele @LupeSteele

"If the hill has its own name, then it's probably a pretty tough hill." —Marty Stern

Ruby, Lupe and "Sister" enjoy post-race mimosas!
The Jungle Run 10K/½ Marathon in Los Gatos, California was my second #Run3rd event. The event has a reputation for being challenging because of its “hilly” terrain. The run lived up to its reputation and gave me a run for my money (literally). I was joined by my partner in crime “Sister” (aka Mari) who had twice completed this run roughly 10 years ago. We were also joined by my younger sister Ruby, who had never participated in a run before. She was slightly reluctant to participate for fear she wouldn’t measure up. She agreed to join after we promised to provide Mimosas followed by Mani/Pedi’s after the race. She was pleased to learn that a percentage of the proceeds went to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. Both sisters also had the opportunity to read through the #Run3rd tweets and found all the dedications uplifting. Thank you to all who tweeted your dedications and sent messages of encouragement and support they were all much appreciated!

The day before the run I was feeling under the weather. I felt an obligation to complete this run for myself and for those #Run3rd dedications despite my husband’s recommendation to postpone the run.  I knew enough to be mindful of my limitations, focus on listening to my body and run a 10K vs. the ½ marathon. However, I did not anticipate the hills and how it would affect my run.

"Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to different stresses. The result? You become a stronger runner." —Eamonn Coughlin

The day of the run, I felt focused and ready to conquer this so-called “Jungle Run.” Sister (Mari) and I felt confident while Ruby’s eyes popped out as she saw  the crowds gather around the starting line all the while Gun’s N Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” was playing in the background. I should have figured this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. My bad! We started the race together & immediately began to hear the gasps and groans of participants as the first steep hill approached us just 20 feet from the start line. We laughed it off chanting “Hi Ho Hi Ho” and began along our merry way. Sister (Mari) broke off and began her pace while little sister and I stayed together for the first two miles. We broke off into our independent paces and I was feeling good. I had conquered the second and third steep hill and was feeling as if this run was in the bag. That is until I began to feel a little unsteady, tingly and the nausea set in. I focused on finishing each step slowly but surely as well as maintaining adequate breath support. During the final stretch of the race I looked over at a spectator, she looked at me and said “YOU will finish this, finish great, pick up the pace”. I must have had the look of defeat or someone “up there” knew I needed a nudge. She repeated “YOU will finish this race, pick up your pace, you got this”. I passed her up, nudged as if my mother had just reprimanded me and picked up my pace. I ran as hard as I could to the finish line and for some strange reason I felt great “Queen of the World” in my best Leonardo DeCaprio voice.

Now, while I appreciate this stranger’s vote of confidence and give her credit for helping me pass the finish line that probably wasn’t the smartest thing I did. As my sisters frolicked to the finish line with my much needed bottle of water and smiles on their faces, I began to feel uneasy. The world began to look a little fuzzy and the thought of happiness was overshadowed by this immense sense of nausea. The look of glee by my sisters turned to concern as I made my way over to Medic. Sister knew the look, she had experienced it several times before during many of her runs. She immediately said “walk it off , walk it off.” Little sister was not so familiar with this image and proceeded to stand still in awe. When I reached the Medic station it was clear I was no longer “Queen of the World”. The medical staff proceeded to work their magic to ensure I remain safe and most importantly alert. They took my vitals, handed me a much needed banana and informed my sister of what I already knew. I was dehydrated.

Ultimately, the terrain was more difficult than I had anticipated and yes, I admit my husband was right (shhh don’t tell him). I felt a slight sense of defeat but a renewed sense of determination. I will conquer the Jungle Run next year, I will be “Queen of the World” ok maybe just a “Princess”. As for my younger sister, she did phenomenally well for her first run. Props to Rubs for completing her first ever 10K run event! I hope my trip to the Medic didn’t scare her off and I hope to enjoy many more runs with both my sisters as well as those much needed post Mimosas and Mani/Pedi. Cheers!

So, did I have a personal best…uh… no, not by a long shot! Remember I’m a slow runner. I did however complete the Jungle Run 10K in 1:46 with setbacks and all. 

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